HELENA — Sophomore Chase Burnham has done a lot in his basketball career.
He played in the Washington 2B state championship twice.
He was selected as his league’s MVP during his junior year.
Now, he dons the purple and gold, playing basketball for Carroll College.
But through all his accomplishments, his fondest memories are playing alongside his brother, Match.
With Match playing in his senior season, their farewell season is half over, but both are relishing their time together on the court.
“We have been playing on the same teams for most of our lives,” Match said.
Basketball was a staple in the Burnham household even before the boys were born.
Their father, Blaze, played basketball for Walla Walla Community College and their mom, Cheri, played for Reardan High.
So it didn’t take the couple long to make the decision to buy a mini basketball hoop.
“I don’t think they had a choice,” Blaze joked.
Whether it was just shooting around on the blacktop or organized basketball in a gym, the two didn’t stay far apart from each other.
Both played in youth leagues and eventually in AAU leagues. Even though Chase was two years behind, he always pushed himself to play at his brother’s level.
“I normally tried to play up,” Chase said. “A lot of times I had to because we didn’t have enough kids, but it worked out perfectly because we got to play together.”
When Chase entered Spangle Liberty High, the brothers’ chemistry came together quickly. Within just two seasons, the two helped the Lancers to a 26-3 record and their first trip to the 2B State Championship in 20 years.
Liberty lost to Morton-White Pass that night, but that did not signal the end of the two playing together. It would take them only two years to get back on the court, in Montana, of all places.
While former Carroll coach Carson Cunningham was watching the 2B State Tournament and recruiting Match to play for the Saints, another player ended up on his radar.
“Chase was impressive then and has gotten even better,” Cunningham said.
Chase put up 17.9 points per game his senior season and led his team to another 2B state championship appearance was all Cunningham needed to see as the brothers were reunited once again.
“He paved the way for me as we were growing up, and I followed his lead,” Chase said.
The two now play side-by-side with the No. 3 ranked Saints looking to get back to the NAIA Tournament.
Their chemistry together has only been good for the brothers but also for a first-year Carroll coach Kurt Paulson.
“I know they like playing together and it obviously shows how close they are,” Paulson said.
Match and Chase Burnham grew up together with a basketball always near them and showed that they can win.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Match said.
Now, they look for one last successful run before their time playing together is over.
“We have a special bond,” Chase added.