The Wirth family name has become synonymous with girls basketball in the state of Arizona.
At Seton Catholic, the end of the Wirth era will come with the close of the 2017 season. Identical twins LeeAnne and Jenn are the last of the five sisters to play for the Sentinels and head coach Karen Self.
“It’s really cool to get to follow in our sisters’ footsteps,” LeeAnne said. “Obviously we’re all different and we all have our different things that we contributed to the basketball program and just the school in general, but it’s cool that we get to be the last ones and just finish it off.”
At a towering 6’2” the twins grew up as the tallest players on their teams. Naturally, they got placed at the post because of their height, but they learned from their sisters they would need to be versatile players to be successful.
“Our sisters going before us and playing in college, they told us that you need to develop ball handling skills because you’re not going to be as big as the girls in college,” LeeAnne said. “So, growing up we really worked on having more guard-like qualities about ourselves.”
LeeAnne said seeing Jenn develop into the versatile player she is now, is what stands out about her sister, while Jenn said LeeAnne’s ability to bounce back from adversity is her best quality.
“Lee’s had her share of injuries, but watching her come back from those injuries…every single time she comes back stronger and that’s impressive to me,” Jenn said.
Self has seen the twins develop immensely since they got to Seton.
“I think when they came in as freshman they were very skilled, but they had to learn the complexity of the game and they had to learn to be more physical,” Self said. “Now they are completely dominant when they are out there on the floor.”
Jenn and LeeAnne may look alike, but Self said they each have their own style of play.
“Lee is more of a back to the basket kind of player and Jenn is more of an attack off the bounce kind of player,” Self said. “They’re as different as night and day in my opinion.”
In the fall, the sisters will continue their academic and athletic careers at Gonzaga University.
“On our visit there we really liked the community, and we love the team,” LeeAnne said. “That’s really big for us because coming from Seton, we have such a great team, and we’re all a family, so just being there, it felt like our Seton team and that’s what we wanted.”
When it came to deciding on the next chapter of their lives, there was no question the two would stick together.
“All along we always wanted to go together,” LeeAnne said. “It was kind of like a package deal thing. We’ve never been separated, so going to college it only seemed natural that we’d go together.”
The two are looking forward to playing for the Bulldogs and the new experiences that college will bring.
“I love (the) high school level and I love my team, but I’m excited to hopefully expand my game and (to) play at the next level,” Jenn said.