Backcourt brothers: Sanchez siblings working together as Central guards

Vandon, older, and Taylor, younger, are separated by two years and are the starting guards for the Central boys basketball team.

Vandon and Taylor Sanchez never faced each other in many knock-down, drag-out driveway pickup basketball games.

In fact, the two brothers found out at an earlier age they work better together than against each other.

“We had a hoop at our house, and would play against my dad,” Vandon, the oldest brother, said. “When we would play 21, we would work together to beat my dad, so it didn’t matter who won, just as long as it wasn’t my dad.”

Separated by two years, the Sanchez brothers are working together as the starting guards for the Central High School boys basketball team.

And for the first time outside of the driveway, the Sanchez brothers are on the same team.

“We’ve always shot together, but now it’s way different that we are playing together,” Vandon said. “I’ve always been looking forward to playing with (Taylor) just because I thought it would be really cool.”

Despite the two-year difference, both players are getting their chance to take a larger role in the program this season. Vandon, a senior, has been contributing off the bench for the past two seasons, but now finds himself in a starting role, averaging 11.4 points per game.

“He’s got great instincts, and can catch fire in a minute,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “He has a lot of energy out there for us.”

Taylor, a sophomore, has been the starting point guard all season. He’s picked up steam as the season has developed, averaging 12 points per game over the past five games.

“Taylor isn’t as quick as Vandon so he has to rely a little more on basketball savvy,” Cain said. “He’s developed a short range jumper this season, and it’s shown the past couple of games.”

Part of Taylor’s easy adjustment to varsity basketball has been having Vandon as a teammate, and leader on the team. Because of Vandon’s presence, taking over a large role with the varsity wasn’t too overwhelming for the younger Sanchez.

“I’ve always practiced with older guys,” Taylor said. “I’ve known a lot of these guys for a long time, and I was coming up as a freshman and helping them every day in practice.”

Although Vandon hadn’t had the opportunity to play with his younger brother much in varsity games before this season, all the hours spent playing together in non-formal settings has helped the two play with a lot of unspoken communication.

“The things he does, the way he plays, I know where he’s going to be,” Vandon said. “I know a lot of the time what he wants to do with the ball.”

Although this will be Vandon’s final year as a Warrior, Taylor has shown flashes that he might be the future of Central basketball for the next two seasons. A stellar ball-handler, Taylor has as much natural basketball ability as anyone on the Central team. Even with that, Taylor said Vandon’s not afraid to speak his mind.

“Sometimes he’s hard on me, but I’m used to it because I’ve been around it my whole life,” Taylor said. “I understand not to take it the wrong way, and that he’s trying to help me out.”

Unless the two brothers play together in college, this season will be one of the few times Taylor and Vandon will get to work together on the court. If anyone has an appreciation for playing with a sibling it would be the Sanchez’s coach, Cain. While at Basalt High School, Cain was a freshman and backed-up to his older brother Paul, current District 51 Athletic Director.

“We got to play in the state championship, and it’s something we always reminisce about,” Phil Cain said. “I think that’s something these two guys will do down the road. They might not appreciate it too much now, but they’ll reflect back upon their experience when they are a little older and know how much they enjoyed playing with each other.”

The Sanchez brothers will be on the court together this weekend hosing Montezuma-Cortez on Friday and Durango on Saturday.


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