The license plate on Christy Brown’s red sports utility vehicle reads: “3SENUF.” Translation: Three is enough.
Jamie and Christy are the parents of triplets — Bailey, Carlye and Delaney Brown. All three girls are juniors on the Davenport Assumption basketball team participating in this week’s Class 3A state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“It has been a dream of ours since we were little,” Carlye said. “When we were little, our dad would take us up to the state tournament to watch Assumption.”
The Brown sisters have been attending state tournaments since they were seven. They often would paint their faces, stand in the front row cheering for former Knights such as Kate Fennelly, Grace Fennelly and Jasmine Binion along with trying to get on the big screen in the arena.
Nine years later, they’ll experience the state tournament as competitors when Assumption takes the court at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday against third-ranked Center Point-Urbana.
“Our parents would always say, ‘This is going to be you guys when you get to that age,’” Bailey said. “Now that is happening, it is a dream come true.”
Delaney is the oldest by a minute. Bailey was delivered a minute before Carlye.
There have been perks and drawbacks. They share clothes, have similar friend groups and assist each other with school work. Conversely, they share one vehicle.
“You always had somebody to hang out with when you’re little,” Carlye remarked. “We always had each other. If something was going wrong, you knew you had two other people to back you up.”
Basketball was an integral part of their upbringing. Almost always on the same team growing up, their father taught them the fundamentals and served as their coach until seventh grade.
They’d spend hours shooting baskets.
“There is a lot of basketball on at our house,” Bailey said. “Our dad is a big supporter in what we do.”
Like most siblings, there is a competitive rivalry. The one-on-one games frequently would result in arguments.
Asked who often had the upper-hand, Delaney replied: “We’ve all taken a loss to each other.”
Assumption coach Katelyn McNamara sees that competitive spirit in practice. Even if it isn’t by design, the Browns frequently are matched up against each other in a drill.
“We kind of look at each other and say, ‘Oh, dinner might be a little awkward tonight,’” McNamara said, "but they don’t take it easy on each other. You can tell they truly love and respect each other.
“I don’t know a lot of sisters that could handle this. Athletics and sports bring out the best in you but can also bring out the worst in times, too. They definitely respect each other.”
All three fill different roles for the Knights, who sport a 16-7 record and take a seven-game winning streak into the state quarterfinal.
Bailey starts and is the team’s second-leading scorer at 14.3 points per game. She’s made 56 shots from beyond the arc, second most in the Mississippi Athletic Conference this winter. She also drained the game-winning shot in the Knights’ regional semifinal win over Camanche.
“She’s come a really long way with taking good shots and getting open for those shots,” McNamara said.
Carlye provides a spark off the bench. She averages 7.2 points per game, third best on the squad. Also a 3-point threat, Carlye brings another component to the floor.
“Carlye has that grit and just gets after it,” McNamara said. “She’ll definitely sacrifice her body and do all those little things.”
Delaney, the tallest of the triplets at 5-foot-8, has seen the least amount of varsity playing time among the three. Still, she adds an important element from the bench.
She isn’t afraid to let Bailey know if there is a flaw in her shot or to lend encouragement.
“Delaney knows the game so well,” McNamara said. “She sees what’s happening on the floor. She’s not as much the aggressor as Carlye, but her brain definitely is a big asset. She’s the calming influence while the other two can get hyper.”
They’ve enjoyed sharing the journey together.
“It has been really fun,” Delaney said, “watching our team get so far and having all our dreams come true since we were little.”
The challenge for the Browns and the Knights is to piece together three more wins and capture the program’s fifth championship since 2008.
First, it must conquer a Center Point-Urbana unit that hasn’t lost to a Class 3A opponent this season and features one of the state’s most versatile players in Wisconsin-Green Bay commit Allison Wooldridge.
“We just have to keep playing with grit,” Bailey said, “and we can’t let down. All the little mistakes are magnified at this time of the year. We just have to keep our momentum going.”