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For Mattinglys, it’s in the genes

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PHILADELPHIA — The story of the Mattingly family couldn’t have started in a more fitting place — the Indian River gymnasium.

Connie, a cheerleader, would watch Wayne sink 3-pointer after 3-pointer for the Warriors’ boys basketball team in the mid 1980s.

Now married, Wayne and Connie frequent that gym to watch two of their children, Justin and Sarah, sink 3-pointer after 3-pointer for the respective Warriors boys and girls basketball teams this season.

Entering Wednesday, Justin was the Frontier League boys leader with 42 made 3-pointers.

Sarah ranked second among the girls with 40. There are 10 teams in the league that have made less 3-pointers than Sarah Mattingly this year.

Both are chasing the school record for most 3-pointers made in a season, 52, held by their oldest brother, Jarrod.

“I think its genetics,” said the youngest member of the Mattingly family, Sarah, a sophomore averaging a team-high 8.2 points in her second varsity season.

“I’ve practiced to become a better shooter, but just by learning from my brothers and my dad, I think just watching my brothers succeed and seeing their form and everything, I’ve been able to pick up some techniques and other things I need to be successful,” she added.

Justin and Sarah have each made just two baskets from inside the 3-point arc this season.

“I guess I’m a man of mathematics and three points are worth more than two,” said Justin, a senior scoring 9.5 points per game in his fourth varsity season. “But, I think, if you look at the rest of our team, we have a lot of guys that can penetrate to the basket and finish, so it’s nice to have kind of a counterpart to that, somebody that is able to shoot outside and keep the floor open.”

Justin said that he grew up learning the game by playing 1-on-1 with Jarrod and their non-biological brother, Shawn Mitchell, on the hoop in their garage.

They would also meet up with the Coleman family, which consists of five brothers, to play pickup games at the high school on weekends.

Sarah, though, would only observe.

“I never really got into it with my brothers because I would always get mad because they were so much better than me,” she said.

While both admitted to getting competitive with their father during games of “pig” or “horse” in the driveway, the two said there isn’t a real sibling rivalry between them.

“It’s all fun and games, but I have seen her foot on the line a couple times so I think the refs need to check that out,” Justin said. “But there’s no real competition, it’s just fun. I know I’m glad to see her being so successful and am proud of her and happy for her.”

And while the race is on to see which Mattingly ends up with the most threes this season, the two said they aren’t placing any wagers.

“I think we all know Justin is a better shooter than I am at this point,” Sarah said.

Justin will have one more regular season game to track down his brother, a nonleague matchup with Fulton on Friday, and will then need the Warriors (11-4 overall, 8-4 league) to advance in the postseason to give him a shot. They have clinched the No. 2 seed in the “A” Division playoffs and would be eligible for the Section 3 playoffs even if they were to lose out.

Sarah’s fate will rest on the Indian River girls’ postseason success. The Warriors (11-5, 9-3) tied Carthage for the “A” Division regular season title, and will also be eligible for a sectional berth regardless of their league playoff outcome.

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