Editor’s Note: Above image provided by Larry Menendez (Arieona on left, Ariele on right)
FORT WORTH, Texas- Ariele and Arieona Rosborough cannot remember the last time they did not star on the basketball court for the same team.
It is relatively typical to see twins playing for the same teams throughout grade school and even into high school. But playing together in college? That’s a rare occurrence. But the Rosborough twins have made it happen, and this coming fall, UMHB will be their next destination.
“They’re going to be a big plus for [UMHB],” said their pops Larry Menendez Jr., who also doubles as their high school coach at Southwest Christian School (SCS) in Fort Worth. “I know they were a big plus for SCS.”
Coming in, there are big expectations for both of them. Premier Basketball Report ranked Arieona at No. 27 in the class of 2021 and Ariele at No. 91. Interestingly, the decision to play for the Cru was not made at the same time, with Arieona making the decision to play at UMHB first. However, both “knew they wanted to play together” in college.
“To be honest with you, they’re going to fit right on in,” said Menendez. “I’ve had extensive talks with Coach Morefield, he’s a great coach and a great guy. The girls went there for a camp and the visit and it took them a little while to make their decision. I was kind of shocked that they both decided to join UMHB. They both had D1, D2 offers. After talking with them, they were happy with everything. Facilities, coaching staff, team, the program itself, they were happy with it all.”
“For me it was the track record under Coach Morefield,” said Arieona when asked what struck her first about the school. “It also helps that it is close to home.
“I got to meet some of the players when I went to do the workouts,” Ariele added.”They all seemed very bonded and close together. That’s what most people consider a winning team. Everyone on the same page. “
But before they can begin their collegiate careers in Belton, the Rosborough sisters are focused on winning their second straight TAPPS 5A State title. Starters in both their freshmen and sophomore seasons at Lake Ridge High (UIL 5A), they each claimed all-district honors in back-to-back seasons, and were both 1,000 point scorers. Menendez, a 26-year Marine veteran, had started a successful summer AAU team that the twins played on throughout their first two years of high school. But as the AAU program achieved national success, Menendez was offered the head job at SCS. So instead of just playing for their pops in the summers, the Rosborough sisters began playing for him year-round.
In a sense, they were the centerpieces of last year’s state championship squad. Both averaged about 28 minutes a game, with Ariele averaging 16.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and Arieona averaging 19.2 points and 11 rebounds per game. In the state title game, the Eagles battled the Eagles with Second Baptist facing SCS. The leading scorer for Second Baptist? The twins’ future UMHB teammate, Kaitlyn Kollmorgen.
Playing with just eight is no easy task, part of the reason why the sisters logged so many minutes. The talent was there, but so was the endurance. Menendez could count on his daughters, especially with a lack of depth on the bench.
“To be honest with you, it was definitely a challenge [playing with just eight],” said Menendez. “I knew what the twins brought to the table, but it was the rest of the team that I had to get on board. I’ve been training the twins since they were in sixth grade and I knew what they could do.”
What they, and their six other teammates led by Menendez could do was capture a state title. It was one of the biggest turnarounds considering the Eagles posted a 2-19 record the year before. One year later, SCS was named the best in TAPPS 5A, finishing with a 26-7 record. This season? They are 19-1 and 8-0 in district play as of February 3. Individually, Ariele is No. 23 in the state in points per game (20.9) and Arieona ranks No. 3 in assists (6.5).
As they work hard to conclude their senior seasons strong, and begin their careers with UMHB next season, each is trying to make a lasting impact, and enjoy the experiences playing alongside each other.
“I don’t want to set a goal and just be stuck at it, but one of my goals is to get up there and play and be the best wherever I am needed,” said Arieona when asked about her goals for her time at UMHB.
Ariele added, “We’re just trying to make the memories last, and accomplish what we can until we reach college.”
Up to this point, the twins have used athleticism to their advantage. Both were track stars, following in their mother, Lea’s footsteps, before taking up basketball in the sixth grade. At the college level, athleticism will still be key, but work ethic will take center stage. It has been a combo of work ethic and athleticism that has allowed the two to play at such a high level.
“The way I pretty much raised them from birth is to always focus on what you want to do,” said their mother, Lea. “Once you have that mindset, you can do anything you want. They both bring different things to the table. Arieona holds the record at SCS in points and rebounds, and Ariele is the three-point shooter.”
UMHB head coach Mark Morefield is also expecting big things from the twins: “I think they’re both high-level players, and very strong players that are going to come in and make an impact from day one because they’re winners. They are almost going to be a different type of freshmen because of that. They’re going to be able to come in here and be successful from the start. “