If you take a quick look at the North Royalton Lady Bears Roster for this season, you’ll notice not one, not two, but three sisters from the Bockelman family on the varsity roster.
Having brothers or sisters playing on the same team is common. But, in this case, having three sisters playing on the same high school team is unusual and special.
Number 55 Sara Bockelman is a senior and stands 6-feet-1-inch tall. Number 20 Lauren Bockelman is a junior and is 5-feet-7 inches tall and Number 31 Kaitlyn Bockelman is a freshman and stands 5-feet-8 inches tall. The sisters make up 25 percent of the 12-player Lady Bears varsity roster.
Playing together at the High School level wasn’t necessarily on the sisters’ radar, but it was on dad’s. “I started playing basketball in the eighth grade,” said Sara, “My dad always said if you keep this up you could play with your sisters at the High School level. I brushed it off. I just kept playing and they already started back in the second grade.”
Lauren expected to play with Kaitlyn in High School, but not with Sara. “She always came to watch us play and supported us, but I never envisioned her on the court with us. This is pretty awesome.”
The most pressure was on Kaitlyn. As a freshman, Kaitlyn had to prove to Head Coach Matt Stricker that she deserved a spot on the varsity. “My goal always has been to be on the varsity as a freshman so I would have the opportunity to play with them. Sara was thinking about not playing this year and that upset me because I wanted the opportunity to play with them.”
There have been times this season when all three Bockelman sisters were on the floor at the same time. The level of trust on the court when Sara passes to Lauren and/or to Kaitlyn is off the charts.
“We know how each other plays,” said Lauren. “We can read what each other is trying to do. It’s cool.
‘We trust each other on the court,” said Sara. “We know where we can catch the ball and execute. It’s a different kind of trust than you have with your teammates.”
“We know each other’s skills better than anyone else on the team,” said Kaitlyn. “I know Sara likes it down low and on a fast break I know where on the court Lauren will be.”
If it’s possible, Sara, Lauren and Kaitlyn’s parents were even more excited than they were about having the three girls on the varsity team.
“My mom was so excited when I made the team. She was cheering on the phone,” said Kaitlyn. “They haven’t missed a game all season and if my dad is traveling, my mom will “Facetime” him the game” said Lauren. “Before the game, our parents always remind us to treasure the moment,” said Sara.
As a senior, Sara’s career for the Lady Bears is slowly coming to an end. “This is something you don’t hear about often. This is something we can look back on in 20 years and remember it as a fun time. It’s something that a lot of other siblings won’t get a chance to do.”
“I knew I would play with both of my sisters because I’m in the middle. The fact that there’s four years between us is cool because we have the opportunity to play together. And I know how special this is,” said Lauren.
“I know we’ll talk about this at Christmas parties, I think we’ll remember just playing together and not necessarily about the outcomes,” said Kaitlyn.
Coach Stricker provided more perspective. “This is a unique situation having three sisters on a team. We always stress that the team is a family and here we have a quarter of our team is a true family. They bicker in practice. But, after practice, the family dynamic comes out. They’re happy and they get in the car and drive home. They’re experiencing something that not many people get to do.”

Contributing Writer