Basketball runs through Alexandra and Elijah Eschmeyer’s veins.
Ever since they were little, the Peak to Peak sophomore twins have grown up in a sport their parents dominated when they were in college and, in the case of boys head coach Evan Eschmeyer, a brief stint in the NBA. That height and skill naturally passed down a generation.
Last year, Alex exploded onto the high school girls hoops scene, leading the Pumas in nearly every statistical category: 15.4 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game and 3.6 blocks per game. Those 6 feet and 4 inches she inherited certainly didn’t hurt.
Some might say her game play was sick.
“Over the pandemic, everything got shut down, so I couldn’t play club,” Alex explained. “I was on a club team at the time, but then that stopped because of COVID. So during lockdown, I just got out and got shots up every day during that. I think that really improved my shot and helped my percentage go up a lot.”
Much to her opponents’ chagrin.
Six-foot-seven Elijah, of course, has been instrumental to her development on the hardwood as well — and vice versa — as his father helped him grow in a way other coaches might not have. He finished his freshman year with 6.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2.8 bpg and looks to take an even bigger role in his second year.
“It’s nice having somebody to always play against and play with it at home. Like, can you rebound for me? You play one-on-one at all times. You have somebody to play against,” Elijah said. “One of the good things about (my dad) being the coach for a long time was a lot of coaches would have just made me play post or center because I was always taller. I got to develop the guard skills, shooting, not just in the paint. He actually didn’t let me shoot (3-pointers) until, like, eighth grade, to get the form down.”
After just one year in her high school career, Alex is already garnering attention from college programs. She received an offer from CU and hopes to add more in the coming years. Both Alex and Elijah want to play at the next level, and they have two of the best role models they could possibly ask for.
Kristina, formerly Kristian Divjak, stunned the women’s college hoops world in the late 1990s. During her junior season at Northwestern in 1998, she led the Big Ten with 22.1 points per game and earned her spot as a 1998 Kodak Honorable Mention All-America honoree, ranking 13th nationally in scoring.
Her future husband, Evan, rocketed to the top of NU men’s basketball. He averaged 16.1 points per game and 8.9 rebounds before taking a crack at the NBA with the New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks.
Knee injuries prevented both from furthering their careers, and Kristina makes sure her kids know the hard work and dedication those trajectories may mean for a young athlete.
“(Alex) knows that it takes a lot of work and sacrifice and she’s starting to see some of that now,” Kristina said. “The amount of time in the summer that you have to devote to it, and the things that you’re giving up for that. The hot days in the driveway that she’s just out there without anyone asking her to get out there, she’s out there getting shots up, I think she’s figured out really what it takes to improve.”
Since entering the high school sphere, the whole Eschmeyer clan — save for 7-year-old Mila — has enjoyed spending their time on the hardwood together and rooting each other on in their back-to-back contests. They know that their collective passions, both inside and outside of the game, is something not many families get to experience.
They’re grateful for the journey, no matter when or where it ends.
“When I was getting recruited to play in college, I always said I wanted to coach,” Evan said. “But when I had to retire, and I got older and started a family, it became more important to me to make family the number one priority. That’s hard to do in coaching, especially high-level coaching. So the opportunity came along to do this and still strike some family balance where we get to see each other.”
After all, there’s nothing quite like high school sports.