FLANDREAU, S.D. (KELO) — Flandreau has seen a strong showing for both their boys and girls basketball teams this season. Some of that success can be credited to one family who has deep roots in Fliers basketball.

Flandreau has a proud history for basketball, but 2022 has been a special year as both the boys and girls basketball teams are ranked in the top five, while each owning 13-3 records.

“We’ve got a super talented team this year. Four seniors who have started for four years or three or four years, so lots of experience, returning all state level players,” Flandreau boys basketball coach Brendan Sheppard said.

“It has been a good year. I think that it’s important this time of year to find things that you need to fine tune,” Flandreau girls basketball coach Megan Severtson said. “We’ve played against some really nice teams lately, that have done some things that have forced us to get better. We’re really focused in on practice on areas of improvement.”

The girls team has been led by sophomore standout Claire Sheppard, who is scoring nearly 16 points per contest.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player who has had as much basketball IQ as Claire does. You can tell she’s been around it. She’s a student of the game. She just does things on the court that most high school girls probably don’t,” Severtson said.

Clarie, Luke, Rhegan and Morgan Sheppard – Courtesy: Brendan Sheppard

Claire’s younger brother, Luke, is starting for the boys basketball team as an eighth grader.

“Our fifth spot has been rotated this year between Luke and a few freshmen. It depends on matchups, but Luke’s a little more physical aggressive player,” Brendan Sheppard said. “He can guard some bigger kids. He’s a good passer and won’t turn the ball over.”

The two siblings grew up playing against each other and that’s something that Claire believes has helped her improve as a player.

“When we were younger, we really went at it all the time. He was usually bigger than me, so he really pushed me and got me really aggressive,” Flandreau sophomore Claire Sheppard said. “We don’t really play anymore though, because it gets pretty feisty.”

Sheppard Family – Courtesy: Brendan Sheppard

Brendan Sheppard is the father of Claire and Luke, but he’s also the head coach for the boys basketball team. That role has saw the Sheppard family spending plenty of time on the hardwood.

“We were in the gym a lot when I was younger and also I was water girl for this same team that I’m playing on now,” Claire Sheppard said. “So that was kind of a role and getting to see the older girls compete, really inspired me to push even harder and get to that level.”

“Usually on like Sunday afternoons we go to the gym and I’ve been water boy for like the past five years for the team. I’ve always shot around at practices and games with the team,” Luke Sheppard said.

Similar to Brendan, Claire and Luke, the rest of the Sheppard family is also involved. Sandy Sheppard runs the official book for the boys team, while daughters Rhegan and Morgan are water girls for the girls team.

Claire, Rhegan and Morgan Sheppard – Courtesy: Brendan Sheppard

“We’re a basketball family. My wife and I both graduated from Flandreau and we both played here. We’ve got deep roots here,” Brendan Sheppard said. “I’ve been coaching for seven years now and my kids have grown up in the gym. It’s what we do. We don’t go camping, we don’t go on ski trips, we come to the gym on Sunday afternoons and play basketball. The Sheppard’s and family basketball, kind of go together.”

“It really makes it special. It feels even more like a family thing when you’re all together. I have tons of close family that also come out and watch games too. You’ll see them there. It’s just like a whole family experience together,” Claire said.

The Flandreau Athletic Director doesn’t schedule the two teams on the same night, unless it’s a double header, so the Sheppard family doesn’t have to miss out on any games.