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Eyler twins lead Littlestown in different ways

Littlestown's Avery and Bryson Eyler are identical twins

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Avery and Bryson Eyler are used to being asked the same question by opponents before every game.

"Are you guys twins?"

Yes, they are. The Littlestown seniors are identical, down to their matching haircuts and facial hair. But while they look exactly alike, the two play very different roles for the Thunderbolts basketball team.

Avery is a sharpshooter, and the team's leading scorer at 15.6 points per game. Bryson doesn't score much, but he typically defends the opposing team's top threat. Together, they've helped lead the Bolts to a 15-8 record, the program's first league tournament appearance ever and first District 3 playoff appearance since 2008.

While Avery gets most of the publicity, both said there is no jealousy between them.

"It's a team sport and someone has to be the leading scorer — it might as well be him," Bryson Eyler said. "He's the offensive threat and I'm the defensive guy."

Added Avery Eyler: "I mess with him about it occasionally but he doesn't care that much. Over the years, he's started to get to where I am and now we're about the same (skill-wise)."

Still, the two love to compete against each other. Head coach John Forster said they demand to guard each other in practice, and challenge each other in workouts. The coach added that both have asserted themselves as leaders this season.

Apart from their roles on the team, the two also have different personalities. Avery is generally more talkative off the court, although Forster said Bryson is generally the fiery and emotional one during games.

"Avery is a little more clam, Bryson wears his emotions on his sleeve," Forster said. "You can tell when Bryson is mad. Avery is even-keeled no matter what is going on. They're great kids and they do every thing you ask."

While Forster had never coached a pair of twins before he started at Littlestown this season, he said it hasn't been hard telling them apart on the court thanks to their different playing styles and jersey numbers. But it's not as easy for opposing players, who sometimes get confused when trying to match up during games.

"It's funny, it happens at least once a game," Bryson Eyler said. "I like to say that it helps him score."

The pair are close off the court, and typically hang out with the same group of friends. While neither has made his college decision yet, they said they're prepared to go their separate ways after spending the past 18 years together.

Until then, the two are determined to make the most of their final games as teammates.

"It's the first year doing any of these things, making the playoffs," Avery Eyler said. "To do it with your brother feels great."