Peninsula High senior JaQuori McLaughlin casts a large shadow. The talented senior, who’s committed to Oregon State, has been a star for the Seahawks since he set foot on campus.
McLaughlin’s younger brother, Elijah, a sophomore, has embraced life in his brother’s shadow.
“I don’t feel pressure but it’s definitely something I want to live up to,” Elijah said. “He motivates me every day. I just work to be as good as him someday.”
I don’t feel pressure but it’s definitely something I want to live up to. (JaQuori) motivates me every day. I just work to be as good as him someday.
Elijah McLaughlin, Peninsula guard
Elijah has earned more playing time with the Seahawks in his sophomore season, working his way into a starting role midway through the season. He’s the only non-senior in the starting lineup.
“My role is to facilitate and get the ball to those seniors,” he said. “I know they can score a lot. I just try to be a spark on defense and give the team energy.”
It’s important to JaQuori that his brother carves out his own path in basketball and in life.
“My dad talks to him a lot about being himself and not trying to be me or have my shadow hanging over him,” JaQuori said. “Just do what he wants to do and be confident.”
The brothers play with a similar demeanor on the basketball court.
“We’re both calm, cool and collected,” Elijah said.
But opponents should be careful not to mistake their calm attitude for a lack of passion or confidence.
“We don’t back down from anyone; we go at people,” JaQuori said. “If people want to trash talk us or disrespect us, we’re going to come at them even harder.”
We don’t back down from anyone; we go at people. If people want to trash talk us or disrespect us, we’re going to come at them even harder.
JaQuori, who spends most of his free time with his brother playing video games, listening to music, walking the family’s dog, etc., said he’s proud of Elijah’s progression and maturation on the court.
“It’s great,” the elder McLaughlin said. “Just seeing him get into that (starting) role and all the hard work he put in during the offseason, coming in before school and just getting work in, that was cool to see him get that opportunity. (He’s gotten) more confident with the ball in his hands. People want to pressure him, (and) he knows how to take that now. He can get past them and facilitate the ball and attack the rim.”
Peninsula, which entered the week in first place in the Class 3A South Puget Sound League with a 17-1 overall record, is enjoying a historic year, due in large part to a talented group of seniors.
“I’ll miss being around all of them,” Elijah said. “I hang out with them after every practice. We hang out with all the seniors, go to their houses. It’s going to be tough.”
The McLaughlin brothers will enjoy it while it lasts. No matter how the season ends, JaQuori’s advice to his younger brother has been simple and consistent.
“Just have fun with it and be confident,” he said. “Have the same mentality going into every practice and every game.”