Type to search

Tompkins twins, McIntyre lead Wildcats with strong family bond

Tompkins twins, McIntyre lead Wildcats with strong family bond


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


The relationships between twin sisters Ari and Julie Tompkins and cousin Brook McIntyre are complicated.

In a good way.

The friendships are bookended on one side by love and on the other by an unbreakable bond — both of which are the types that only family members can truly create and share.

Everything in between is fueled by an unrelenting competitiveness that not only pushes all three to be the best versions of themselves, but also pulls them closer together along the way.

There are not three players that want to see the other succeed more.

At the same time, you will not find three players that find more enjoyment at being better than the other.

So is the life for these three, who are each other’s biggest supporter, but also each other’s biggest rival.

It is that blend of sincere love and fierce competitiveness that sets the trio apart from their peers.

“We have known each other for so long, so we know each other so well,” said McIntyre, who reached the 1,000-point milestone last season as a junior. “I think that we feed off each other and push each other. We have moments when we are competing against each other, but at the end of the day, we just want what is best for our entire team.”

Staying healthy would help, which is an idea that has not been a reality over the last two seasons.

Last year, Julie Tompkins tore her ACL and missed most of the year. This year, in the first game of the season, McIntyre lost more than half the season when she stepped on an opponent’s first and broke her ankle.

Both injuries strengthened the trio’s appreciation for each other on the court, as well as a layer of sympathy for what it means to watch another family member be sidelined by a serious setback.

In fact, Julie’s recovery from her torn ACL pushed her to the brink of not returning to basketball in fear of another injury that could impact her ability for a college scholarship in track and field.

“I thought about not coming back, and I even talked to Ari and Brook about it,” said Julie Tompkins, who is averaging 5.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.9 assists per game. “They told me that I would regret it, and I knew they were right. I think I was just still working my way through the mental recovery.”

While Julie’s knee injury was unfortunate, it came during her sophomore year, which she said allowed her to put everything in perspective when McIntyre suffered her foot injury this season.

“As soon as Brook got hurt, I could have cried for her,” Julie Tompkins said. “To know she was going to have to miss part of her senior year, it broke my heart for her. My injury was only my sophomore year, and I know how crushed it made me feel. To have it happen during Brook’s senior season, I knew what she was going through, and I hated that for her. Not having her (most of the season) changed our season.”

The Wildcats, though, are proud to report that they are fully healthy.

In fact, Thursday was the first time in 96 days, dating back to Nov. 22, that the Cats practiced with all 14 of their rostered varsity players, with significant injuries to Kasey Bolyard, Eden Cameron and McKenna Clark all surfacing.

While the timing of the injuries cost Mogadore the chance to contend for the Portage Trail Conference championship, the team’s chance to be at full strength for tournament time is an opportunity they are not ready to let go of.

Mogadore, seeded ninth, will play for the Division IV district championship on Saturday at Norwayne High School against top-seeded Loudonville.

The two teams met in the 11th matchup of the season for the Cats, with Loudonville romping its way to a 66-22 victory. A game that Mogadore played without McIntyre.

McIntyre knows that her Cats will still be considered the underdog on Saturday, which is a category that she enjoys.

“I like that teams might be doubting us. I like to prove people wrong,” McIntyre said. “All I know is this, we have not worked this hard to not give it everything we have. I am not ready for the season to be over.”

Ari Tompkins (10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.4 steals per game this season) echoed the idea.

“I don’t think our record shows what our potential is,” Ari said. “If we had played the entire season with the group that we have healthy now, we would have had a different season.”

A “what if” that is not worth any energy, especially considering that the team has a new postseason “what if” after the program persevered through every challenge the 2023-24 season threw in front of them.

In tough times, you need a strong family.

Mogadore had its family ready.

Twin sisters and a cousin.

Three players that thrive when they are counted out.

Players that are driven by the thrill of victory.

Players that are unwavering in their passion for the game.

“Some play a sport just for fun, but this is not just for fun for us,” Julie Tompkins said. “Some people say it is just a game, but this is not just a game for us. In that moment, when we are playing, the game is our life.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *