By Bill Burt
---- — Tyler Sifferlen and his sister, Emily, are together a lot and they are usually smiling and/or joking with each other.
“We’ve always been pretty close,” said Tyler, 17, of his 13-year-old sister. “Our brothers (Ryan and Matt) are older and in college, and usually not around as much as we are. We get along real well.”
Their dueling smiles were as strong as ever this past week. For good reasons.
Families go generations without having a son or daughter take home a state championship. Last Sunday, Tyler and Emily each won state titles, less than six hours apart from each other.
Emily, a North Andover Middle School seventh grader, with her father, Brian, coaching on the bench, scored 12 points as her team beat Belmont, 50-41, to win the state championship in Foxboro.
They celebrated with the team, receiving medals and taking a team photo before the championship duo jumped in a car, along with mom (Patti) and sons (Ryan and Matt), to drive 30 miles to the TD Garden.
They were en route to see their brother and son, Malden Catholic junior Tyler Sifferlen, play for the “Super 8” state hockey championship versus Austin Prep.
Early on, Malden Catholic fell behind, 1-0, and Emily wasn’t confident her older brother’s team would come back.
“I thought they’d lose,” said Emily. “I just didn’t have a good feeling. But then Tyler scored to tie it up.”
About an hour after the tying goal, the second Sifferlen child was wearing a state championship medal as Malden Catholic held on a for a 3-2 win.
It was an exhilarating and, apparently, a very tiring day on championship Sunday.
When it was official that Emily’s team won the semifinal game on Sunday morning, her mother and two older brothers made the trek down to Foxboro for the championship.
“It was exciting, but it was a tiring day,” said dad. “Emily and I went to Foxboro Saturday morning and we played two games, stayed overnight, and then played two on Sunday. “Then the whole family, minus Tyler, drove up to Boston for a pre-game party for the Malden Catholic families.
“Then we all walked over to the game around 5 (p.m.),” recalled dad. “Then we go to the game, which was close and a little stressful. And then after the game, there was a party for players and their parents at Kowloon’s (Restaurant on Route 1 in Saugus). We didn’t get home until about 11 (p.m.). I was burned out.”
Tyler and Emily, because they both live at home, usually catch most of the other’s games. Both admit they are impressed with the other.
“Emily is very good,” said Tyler, who has already received a scholarship to play hockey at UMass Lowell. “She’s very good. She’s aggressive, physical and really tall. She competes.”
“Tyler is a very good athlete,” said Emily. “He’s won a lot (in his life). I like watching him play.”
While Sunday was a special day, it wasn’t a new experience for both Emily and Tyler.
Emily’s sixth grade team, also coached by her father, won a state title last year.
And Tyler’s Malden Catholic hockey team won state titles last year and the year before. But this one was a little different as Tyler’s team, which barely got into the Super 8 tournament by winning a play-in game, was not the “superpower” it had been the previous two championship seasons.
“I was a captain and more of a leader this year and we had some struggles this season,” said Tyler. “It was great to show everybody that we were a great team and didn’t give up.”
While their older brothers Ryan — a three-sport star in soccer, hockey and baseball — and Matt — a two-year starter on the basketball team — had some successes in high school, it doesn’t come close to matching last Sunday.
“It was a crazy day,” said Emily. “But it was fun. It was fun for my team to win and it was fun watching Tyler’s team win.”