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Juniors Jeffrey and Jeremy Kalonji are not used to the limelight.
While Chandler White and Kyle Mallers own the stat lines and blow up Twitter feeds for the Carroll boys' basketball team, the laid-back Kalonji twins are fine simply being solid contributors for the Chargers.
Both 6-foot-4 Jeremy and 6-1 Jeffrey are capable of coming up huge in big spots, their role as responsible, smart players that do not need a lot of in-game attention from coaches are truly what make good teams great.
The Kalonjis do not need the attention that comes with gaudy personal stats, but Carroll surely wouldn't be 13-6 heading into Friday's showdown with Class 4A No. 4 North Side without them.
The Chargers won their sixth straight game on Tuesday against Snider, downing the Panthers 71-60.
The Kalonji brothers combined for 17 points and 10 rebounds in the victory, unspectacular but much-needed contributions to the Chargers' cause.
“Jeremy and Jeffrey bring a lot of energy for us,” Carroll coach Marty Beasley said. “They are very athletic, they play extremely hard, they are unselfish and they fill our roster out because of the intangibles they bring.”
Beasley always stresses team basketball with his squad, from the top player all the way to the guy at the end of the bench. The Kalonjis personify that philosophy, sharing a bond with each other as well as with their teammates.
“After all these years we have those connections on the court sometimes where we just look at each and that's it,” Jeffrey said. “That's about how it is playing with your twin. Everything we've been through together, we know what to do in certain situations on the court.”
As the brothers benefit from their familiarity, so does the collective.
“We're good friends with everybody on the team, so they kind of mesh in with us,” Jeffrey said. “It's kind of like we have our own thing, but everybody else kind of blends in too.”
The Kalonjis have a way of blending in as well. Teams key on scorers White and Mallers, with both dangerous both inside and out. Meanwhile, the guard Jeffrey and forward Jeremy are able to do work without the pressure on themselves or the attention from opposing defenses.
“Kyle and Chandler are really targeted sometimes … so we need other people to step up as well,” Jeremy said. “With me and Jeffrey's good connection sometimes it's just kind of simple to do that for (the team).”
The chemistry seems to be working for the Chargers as of late. After a mid-January swoon that saw Carroll lose three straight, Coach Beasley's team has ran off six straight wins heading into a tough final three games of the regular season with North Side, Indy North Central on Saturday and Warsaw next week.
But the Chargers will be ready, as will the Kalonjis.
“They rebound the ball, they can handle the ball, they can slash, they get to the basket, they bring energy for us,” Beasley said. “They don't get upset and down. They just keep playing, that's what we love about them.”