OSSEO — The casual observer might not notice.
No, without the help of a roster, there’s not much to give away that Cory and Ryan Myhers are brothers when they’re on the basketball court.
With play styles as night-and-day as the Osseo-Fairchild duo’s, it’s easy to miss the family connection.
Even the physical differences can throw you off the trail.
On one hand there’s Cory. The 6-foot-5, auburn-haired senior nicknamed “Red” is an imposing presence in the paint, a traditional big man who doesn’t stray too far from the lane.
When the Thunder take the court for a game, Cory’s height is often one of the first things opposing teams notice.
Then there’s Ryan. The 6-foot-2, brown-haired junior guard is more comfortable handling the ball around the perimeter, ready to put up a 3 or drive to the hoop when the opportunity is there.
“It’s about 180 degrees of difference between those two kids. They play two different styles of basketball,” Osseo-Fairchild coach Tim Popple said. “One’s a big inside post player, the other’s a point guard who handles the ball and bombs away from outside.”
But off the court, those differences start to fade away.
“They are pretty similar in personality,” Popple said. “They’re not outspoken, they’re very good competitors. And they’re very good to each other, which may be surprising for brothers.”
Don’t be fooled though. The typical rivalry seen time and time again between teenage brothers is still there.
“It’s your usual brotherly relationship,” Cory said. “Fighting one day, best friends the next.”
In terms of basketball, the brotherly competition reaches back to the days of the young Myhers playing pickup games on the driveway along with their older brother Alex.
“We’d always have our competitions to see who’d win, and it was kind of all over,” Cory said. “He’d find some way to whip up a shot from his hip before I could block it.”
Innovation was key to getting the better of the taller brother, who swatted his fair share of shots along the way.
But after all those hours spent taking each other on, who has emerged as the better player?
“We play different positions so it’s kind of hard to tell, but I think I’m better,” Ryan joked.
Personal opinions aside, both have provided plenty of success for the Thunder this season. The Myhers are two of the top three scorers for Osseo-Fairchild, and are a big reason why the Thunder punched a ticket to the state tournament.
Cory, unsurprisingly, was one of the top rebounders in the Western Cloverbelt Conference this season and earned first team all-conference recognition. Ryan was an honorable mention All-Western Cloverbelt pick.
With Ryan often handling the ball and Cory often finding space in the paint, one brother’s play can have a direct effect on the other’s.
“He can pass it to me, and if I’m doubled or tripled I can send it right back to him,” Cory said.
The brothers have both been on the Thunder’s varsity squad for three seasons. They endured a debut season which saw the team go 5-19 before turning things around to win a conference title in each of the last two years and a sectional title this season for the team’s first trip to state since 1992.
“Basically, we’ve all been learning to play with each other and developing our game at the varsity level,” Cory said. “That helped us get to where we are now.”
There may have been a learning curve to adapt to the varsity game, but the Myhers have played on the same team for just about as long as they can remember, dating all the way back to elementary school.
They also play football and baseball, but there’s no question which sport takes precedence.
“Basketball is definitely at the top of my list,” Ryan said before getting a quick agreement from Cory.
That makes this basketball season particularly special to the duo. This is the last season the Myhers will play varsity sports together. Ryan has one more year left at Osseo-Fairchild, while this is Cory’s final go-around.
“This is kind of it for them. They’ve still got baseball, but this is the sport they really love,” Popple said. “So it’s really cool that they get to do this at the end, have this kind of success. They’ve earned it. They’ve put a lot of time in at this gym.”