Tualatin HS senior gets support from brother as basketball team hopes to win first state championship
TUALATIN, Ore. (KPTV) - After a 6A state football championship appearance in December, the top-rated Tualatin High School boys basketball team is looking to score the big blue trophy on the Timberwolves’ hunt for a first-ever hoops state title.
“Coming right off from football to basketball helped us a lot,” said senior Malik Ross. “We came in hungry this basketball season. We all want it super bad.”
Malik and fellow Tualatin High School senior Noah Ogoli are super motivated to go down as the best class to ever do it for the Timberwolves.
“We want to be great leaders and lead by example for everybody else,” Malik said.
The Timberwolves’ core group has balled together since the fourth grade and could bring home the first boys basketball state championship banner since Tualatin High School opened in 1992.
“We’ve been playing together since day one, so obviously it’s a lot easier than playing with someone you don’t really know as well, so it just makes everything a lot more comfortable and easy,” Noah said.
Noah, 18, has comfort in seeing fans, friends and family back in the stands like his 20-year-old big brother, Elijah.
“It was really fun growing up with him, bro. He was just like everybody else, like he was normal kid. Even though he has Down syndrome, to me, he looks, he feels normal,” Noah said.
“He’s my best brother, you know,” Elijah said, to which Noah replied, “I am your only brother!”
The brotherly love is mutual.
“To think what he has to go through, you never know when people are talking down to him, and I feel like since he is at every game, he is always there for me,” Noah said. “I owe it to him to be there for him and always be my best, because if I am not being my best, then what’s the point of even coming to watch me, you know? I do it for my family, especially him. I just don’t want to let him down.”
The Ogoli kids walked the same halls together at Tualatin High School when Noah was a freshman and Elijah was a senior.
“Sometimes I would say, ‘what’s up?’ to him in the hallway and he’d just keep walking like I didn’t say hi or nothing, but that is just his personality sometimes,” Noah said. “When he is out in public, I don’t know, he doesn’t like to say hi to his family for some reason.”
Dad is from Nigeria, while mom is from West Linn and ran college track at UC Davis. Her sons are runners too.
“Because of [Elijah’s] heart condition, sometimes it wasn’t easy but I knew he had it in him. I pushed him to be his best every day,” said Noah.
Any sibling squabbles were taken out on the track when the two competed for Tualatin in the spring of 2019.
“Who won,” asked Noah.
“It was pretty close,” Elijah said. “I think my brother won.”
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