Twins bring unique skills to the court

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LOWESBy BOB VARMETTE

No, they’ve never switched numbers.

Liberty Hill junior guards Carson and Conner Lowe are identical twins. Carson is the elder, born two minutes earlier 18 years ago in Tyler.

Off the court, it’s nearly impossible to tell the two apart. It can be on court, as well, if you don’t know their numbers.

But despite the apparent similarities, they are different basketball players.

“Conner is more of a set-up shooter and he does better with someone creating a shot for him,” Liberty Hill coach Barry Boren said. “Carson, on the other hand, is better off the dribble. He can actually create his own shot. That makes Carson better as a point guard and Conner better as an off-guard.

“From the casual observer’s eyes, you probably have a hard time telling them apart, because I did when I first met them. But I’ve been around them so much that I can tell by the way they walk which one it is,” Boren said.

Conner and Carson agree Boren has gotten much better at telling the two apart since their freshman season. Here are a couple of quick hints: Conner is No. 4 and starts, and is left-handed; Carson is No. 3, right-handed and comes off the bench.

They started playing together in the seventh grade. But they’ve been playing basketball against each other a lot longer.

That continues to this day – in season and out of season.

“We played one-on-one every day,” Carson said. “I would say we’re pretty even.”

And Conner: “It’s tough, because he knows all my moves. I know all his moves, but I think it makes us better. It helps us learn what we do wrong and what we do well, so we can fix the problems.”

Carson and Conner agree playing against each other has raised the level of their games. It’s helped fix a lot of problems, and the two are a big part of what Liberty Hill has done this season.

The Lowe twins are part of a Runnin’ Panthers squad that ran through the first half of the District 25-4A schedule. Liberty Hill remains unbeaten at 27-0 and 6-0 in district after an 83-52 win over Salado Tuesday night and is ranked fourth in the state in Class 4A.

Conner is the better scorer, averaging 8.2 points per game – third best on the team. Carson averages 4.6 points per contest, but is the better shooter of the two – at least this season.

“Conner seems to have more range, but this year Carson has been more consistent,” Boren said. “The other thing that’s kind of crazy is Conner was the leading free-throw shooter on our team last year and he’s kind of had some difficulties. Carson is our leading free-throw shooter this year. Carson has kind of supplanted Conner this year in a couple of areas.”

Conner shoots 65.2 percent from the line to Carson’s 80.0. And from behind the arc, Carson shoots 35.2 percent while Conner is shooting 31.5 percent.

Shooting 3s is one of the similarities with Carson and Conner. Neither is bashful in putting the ball up when he’s in 3-point land, and each does so even at NBA 3-point range.

That also is a product of all those shoot-arounds at home.

“In the back yard, we’d play H-O-R-S-E and we would always shoot these long shots,” Conner said. “Ever since middle school, we’ve been shooting from a long ways out. Coach Boren doesn’t always like it, but he says if I make it it’s a good shot, if I don’t make it it’s a bad shot.”

From the back yard to the Panther Den, there have been a lot of games of H-O-R-S-E and lots of one-on-one contests, and true to that, Conner and Carson were shooting together after practice Monday.

The future holds possibilities – with the graduation of senior point guard Callen Mikulencak, the Lowe brothers may be on the court together a lot next season.

The twin thing may play a part in that – Boren said Conner and Carson seem to have an intuitive knowledge of where the other is and what the other is doing on the court.

But that’s for the future, and the possibility of playing together in college is even farther into the future. The reality of now is they get to share with each other what could be a very special season for Liberty Hill.

“It’s pretty cool,” Carson said.

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