Seeing double: Twins Jaedyn, Jordyn O’Reilly make impact at Desert Mountain

Twins Jordyn (left) and Jaedyn (right) O’Reilly interact during a recent practice. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

In reminiscing about twins Jaedyn and Jordyn O’Reilly, Desert Mountain High School Girls Basketball Coach Alicia Sanchez remembers one story that brought a big smile to her face.

Both twins play for the Wolves as juniors and in one particular game, Jordyn went up for a layup, making it in the process. On another part of the court, her sister Jaedyn committed a foul, negating her twin’s layup.

In different circumstances, this might have been a minor frustration, but not to Jordyn. Her strengths lie on the defensive end and she only averages about two points per game.

After the game, Coach Sanchez recalls while breaking into fits of laughter, Jordyn putting Jaedyn in a headlock and yelling at her because Jaedyn had taken away her rare points.

“I never score,” Jordyn chimed in with a laugh. “And when I scored, she took it away from me.”

After sharing the laugh, Coach Sanchez concluded her story summing up the O’Reilly twins relationship as, “they are just fun.”

Both twins have been on the varsity roster since they were freshmen and since Coach Sanchez took over the program. But their playing relationship stretches further back.

Over the course of their basketball careers, the two have grown closer together both as sisters and teammates. That closeness plays out on the basketball court and how the two interact in a game.

While the two may look the same, many describe their personalities as different. They also both exhibit traits of sibling competitiveness that manifests itself on and off the court

Twins Jaedyn (left) and Jordyn (right) O’Reilly race up the court during a recent practice. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Together on the court

Both girls have been playing basketball since they were in kindergarten. Jaedyn remembers always being on the same team as her sister growing up.

A big benefit Jaedyn saw in having her sister on the same team was she always had a practice partner. Having the two together helped them learn each other’s game and provide help when needed.

“Whenever we’re struggling with something, we know the other one can push us and help us get better with that,” Jaedyn said.

Having a deep history of playing closely together has paid dividends for the twins when they’re on the court together.

“We can find each other on the court easier,” Jordyn said. “We know what the other person can do on the court. We understand if they can make a shot that most people can’t.”

Coach Sanchez pointed to Jaedyn as the team’s starting point guard who works as a scorer and defensive presence. She also said Jaedyn’s confidence and leadership offensively has kept the Wolves in tempo and in control.

Jordyn comes off the bench for the Wolves and Coach Sanchez uses her primarily as a rebounder and defensive presence. Coach Sanchez also described her style of play as unselfish and consistent.

There are numerous ways Coach Sanchez says she sees the O’Reilly’s “twin intuition” come into play.

“If there is a fast break or something, they’ll make an extra pass or a rebound even,” she said. “Jaedyn won’t say anything and Jordyn will just find her up the floor. That’s their twin intuition.”

Away from the court, the two use their familial bond to help the other improve and to support each other. Jordyn described it as having someone to watch out for her and help her improve.

Jaedyn agreed, taking it a step further.

Twins Jaedyn (left) and Jordyn (right) O’Reilly both play basketball at Desert Mountain High School. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

“It’s having a best friend on the team that you know will always be there for you,” Jaedyn said. “That’s a really good part of it.”

When one has a bad game or practice, Jaedyn said it helps having the other to lift and support. She said her twin understands her in ways other teammates don’t because her sister knows her at the family level.

This bond leads to an open dialogue between the two. Jordyn said because the two go home together after one has a bad game or practice, they can help each other feel better after the fact rather than dwelling on the negative experience.

This support is not lost on the twins’ mother Jeanine.

“I think playing basketball together has given them a stronger bond to be more supportive of one another,” Jeanine O’Reilly said.

Different personalities

Three minutes is what separates Jordyn and Jaedyn in age. Jordyn is the older twin and neither twin forgets it as Jaedyn will remind, for example, of being the elder twin, meaning she has to go first for media interviews.

Both are also competitive though in different ways. Jordyn said Jaedyn is more competitive on the court while off it, she is more competitive.

Jordyn cited she is competitive with who can get in the house faster or who can get dressed faster. For Jaedyn, she saw everything as a competition between her and Jordyn.

Ms. O’Reilly backed up this notion saying while she doesn’t remember the two being too competitive at a younger age, the twins now seem to “only compete on who can eat their Fired Pie or In-N-Out Burger the quickest.”

To further complicate the matter, Ms. O’Reilly says she thinks Jaedyn overall is the more competitive one.

Sometimes the competitiveness spills over into a sibling feud, which Jaedyn said can come about over little matters but they always resolve them quickly. Coach Sanchez agreed, saying the two quibble frequently.

When looking at the twins, Coach Sanchez said Jordyn tends to be more laid back while Jaedyn tends to be a bit more outgoing than her sister. Jordyn agreed with that assessment, adding her sister was a lot more focused on “everything.”

Even though Jaedyn has more playing time and the better statistics, Jordyn said she has enjoyed watching her sister progress.

“She’s really improved over the past few years and seeing her gain her confidence is really cool to see,” Jordyn said.

On the other side, Jaedyn says Jordyn has been such a strength and a great sister to her throughout all of their years together.

“I just think her always being next to me has helped me grow into a better person than I would’ve been without her,” Jaedyn said.

Jaedyn and Jordyn have the rest of this season and all of next before they head off to college. Jaedyn said there are no plans yet as to whether the two will continue playing together past high school.

Still, their mother said it’s been a joy watching her daughters play together throughout the years.

“I’m very proud of my girls playing basketball together, being great teammates to one another and the team,” Ms. O’Reilly said.

“(I’m) proudest of them striving to be great human beings.”

Twins Jordyn (left) and Jaedyn (right) O’Reilly. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at or at 623-445-2738

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