Though Mount Baker seniors Dalton and Ty Munsell are fraternal twins, they are not unlike most other pairs of siblings - there is a little sibling rivalry, though usually it's a friendly rivalry.
Take, for example, the dunk that Dalton had in the Mountaineers' Feb. 8 victory over South Whidbey in the Class 1A Northwest District Boys' Basketball Tournament.
"That's a little bit of a bone of contention between the two of them," Mount Baker coach Rob Gray joked in a phone interview. "It was the first time Dalton had ever dunked. I mean he had never dunked in his life - not in practice, not in a game, I'm pretty sure not even in his dreams. Ty, on the other hand, we've all seen him dunk in practice, but he's never gotten the chance to do it in a game. You might not know it to look at him, but Ty can really jump.
"So Ty doesn't really think it was a dunk. He keeps saying it was a lay-up."
In Dalton's mind, though, it's not a question.
"I knew I could grab the rim," Dalton said in a phone interview. "I tried it when we were warming up, and I've been wanting to dunk all year. So when the opportunity was there, I couldn't pass it up. ... (Ty) said I just threw it at the rim, but I know I grabbed the rim and threw it down. We watched it on the video, and you can see the rim bend down a little bit, so it was a dunk, no doubt."
Video proof or not, there's no way Ty is going to let his older brother - by 30 seconds, according to Ty - have the last word.
"I'm just saving mine for state," Ty said in a phone interview.
That's an opportunity he'll get on Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Mountaineers travel to Chehalis to take on Southwest District top seed Toledo in the regional round of the Class 1A State Tournament.
Make no doubt about it, the Munsell brothers are a big part of the reason Mount Baker will make its first trip to the state's Sweet 16 in three seasons.
The Munsells represent two-thirds of the players who played in all 26 games for the Mountaineers so far this season.
"It's been kind of a strange year," Gray said. "We've had a lot of injuries and illnesses and other issues that have kept guys off the floor this year."
Not that Dalton and Ty haven't had their share of bumps and bruises or even had to play through a cold for a game or two, but they've remained fixtures in the starting lineup - Ty at point guard, Dalton at forward.
That consistency and their last name are part of a surprisingly short list of similarities between the two brothers.
The differences, meanwhile, are many.
Start with the body types. While the quieter Ty is a more "short and squatty" 6 feet, Dalton measures in at 6-2 with relatively long arms and is "a tremendous athlete," Gray said.
Not that Ty isn't athletic, he's just doesn't have the body type that would allow him to play every position on the floor except post and guard an opponent's best player anywhere from 5-11 to 6-6 like Dalton can, Gray said.
"Dalton is a very good shooter," Ty said. "He has a jump shot. He can shoot 3s when he's on. He rebounds and plays defense. He's probably one of our best defenders. He always looks to pass first, rather than shoot first. He's a good all-around player."
So good that Dalton is actually one of only two returning starters from last year for Mount Baker, along with Andrew Zender, who started part time.
Because of that, Dalton said he felt he needed to step up his game for his senior season.
"I've been trying to shoot a little more this year," Dalton said. "Last year, I didn't have to, because we knew we had guys like Addison (King) and Blake (Compton). This year, we knew we had Reuben (Murashov), who can shoot, and Zan (Roman), but he was hurt early. So we knew we needed guys to step up, and as a senior and as a returning starter, I knew I needed to be one of those guys."
Though Murashov and Roman, since his midseason return from a fractured collarbone in football, have been the team's top scoring threats, Dalton has been a solid contributor with his 6.9 points per game.
And Ty has averaged 7.9 points per game. But the way Ty has produced has been quite a bit different.
"Ty might actually be more valuable to us playing the point this year," Gray said. "It wasn't a position we intended to have him play. He's worked his way there, and he's been very steady for us. He's not flashy as a point guard, but he's a steady individual who doesn't make many mistakes."
A big part of the reason Ty has been so successful at the point, Gray said, is his "hard-nosed" approach to the game, as opposed to Dalton, who is more of "a finesse player."
"Ty knows how to use his body to get around people," Dalton said. "He's really good at slipping around them and getting the hoop. He really knows how to drive and get to the rim, and if he sees someone open along the way, he's great at getting them the ball. ... I think he sees the court really well."
The position didn't come naturally for Ty, though, as he entered the season expecting to be the Mountaineers' shooting guard.
And he can shoot, Gray said, especially when he gets on a hot streak, but his ability to command Mount Baker's offense has made him invaluable there.
"It was difficult to make the transition at first," Ty said. "At first, there was a lot of pressure, and it was a little difficult to handle. After a while, it got easier, though."
As different as the Munsells are on the court, Gray said, they probably are even more unique away from it.
"They are night and day," Gray said. "They both live in Acme, but I think Dalton would probably prefer to live in the city, if he had the choice. Ty is in the woods - he wears Romeos (shoes), Carhartt gear, goes hunting and loves to go camping. I mean, his job is splitting firewood. Dalton's more of a skinny jeans, dressing nice, going shopping kind of guy. Ty is huge into the FFA - he was part of our state championship team that went to Indianapolis. Dalton has nothing to do with FFA. Ty drives a big truck. Dalton is a sports car type."
But Dalton says don't let the clothes or choice in cars fool you.
"I don't know if I really would want to live in the city, I just dress like it," he said. "I still have my clothes that I wear to work. I just don't like to wear my work clothes out, because I get dirty at work. I like to look nice and be clean. I like living out in the country. I still have my Carhartts and I like to get down and dirty."
That's a trait Dalton and Ty probably both got from their father, Will.
Unfortunately, the Munsells have been without him for the past four years.
While working in California, Will contracted Valley Fever, a lung infection resulting from a fungus that becomes airborne when dust around construction and agricultural areas in hot, dry climates is transported by the wind. He died three days later, Gray said.
"It was really tough to lose him," Ty said. "He meant so much to us."
The loss was particularly tough on Dalton, who was away at a basketball camp with the Mountaineers at the time and didn't get to talk to his father on the phone before he died. Ty and their sister did.
"It was really hard on me at first," Dalton said. "I didn't want to go anywhere and do anything. I just wanted to sit around. I didn't really want to talk about it with anyone. That's pretty much all I did for a few weeks. I didn't want to believe it was real. We didn't see it coming. It was just a surprise. ... It really sucked that I didn't get to talk to him again. That definitely hurt."
Ty and Dalton said they don't talk about losing their father very much, but both said they are inspired by his memory.
"I still think about him a lot," Ty said. "It makes you want to play harder or try harder at whatever you're doing. I never come out and say I'm doing it for him, but I know."
And both know Will, who was a regular at their sporting events while they were growing up playing together, would have loved to have been in Chehalis on Saturday to see his twin boys play - especially if Ty were able to log his first dunk in a game and get even with his brother.
"He definitely would have been there in the stands, watching and cheering us on," Dalton said.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
THIS WEEKEND'S REGIONAL ROUND
FRIDAY, FEB. 22
CLASS 2A GIRLS
At Lynden High School
Cedarcrest vs. Port Angeles, 6 p.m.
Olympic vs. Burlington-Edison 8 p.m.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
At Mount Vernon High School
Woodland vs. Cascade Christian, 6 p.m.
Hoquiam vs. Lynden Christian, 8 p.m.
At Chehalis W.F. West
King's vs. Montesano, 6 p.m.
Blaine vs. Castle Rook, 8 p.m.
SATURDAY FEB. 23
CLASS 2A BOYS
At Lynden High School
Burlington-Edison vs. White River, 4 p.m.
Sumner vs. Lynden, 6 p.m.
CLASS 1A BOYS
At Mount Vernon High School
LaCenter vs. Cedar Park Christian, 4 p.m.
Hoquiam vs. Lynden Christian, 6 p.m.
At Chehalis W.F. West
King's vs. Kalama, 4 p.m.
Mount Baker vs. Toledo, 6 p.m.
MOUNT BAKER ROSTER
No. Player Yr. Ht. Pos. G Pts. Avg.
3. Isaac Gilmore Jr. 5-7 G 23 56 2.4
5. John Douglass Sr. 5-10 G 18 3 0.2
10. Reuben Murashov Jr. 6-4 F 25 342 13.7
11. Zan Roman Sr. 6-3 F 15 140 9.3
20. Ty Munsell Sr. 6-0 G 26 206 7.9
21. Seth Bass Jr. 5-10 G 20 29 1.5
22. Harrison Whitmyre Sr. 5-11 G 25 82 3.3
24. Conner Brandland Jr. 6-4 F 25 50 2.0
32. Josh Barbo Jr. 6-2 F 3 0 0.0
33. Colton Ranson So. 5-9 G 5 34 6.8
42. Dalton Munsell Sr. 6-2 F 26 179 6.9
55. Andrew Zender Jr. 6-1 F 26 115 4.4
MOUNT BAKER RESULTS
Coach: Rob Gray
NWC finish: 10th (3-9)
Seed: No. 5 out of District 1/2/3
Dec. 3 at Meridian L 48-31
Dec. 4 Blaine W 61-53
Dec. 6 at Sedro-Woolley L 65-46
Dec. 8 at La Conner L 52-31
Dec. 11 at Lynden L 64-32
Dec. 14 at Ferndale* L 53-43
Dec. 15 Sehome L 68-49
Dec. 18 at Friday Harbor W 52-51
Dec. 21 at Lynden Christian* L 67-34
Dec. 28 Concrete W 54-26
Jan. 4 Nooksack Valley* W 36-34
Jan. 7 Sehome* L 70-59
Jan. 10 Sedro-Woolley* L 64-39
Jan. 15 at Burlington-Edison* L 76-57
Jan. 17 Lynden* L 68-17
Jan. 22 at Blaine* W 56-54
Jan. 25 at Squalicum* L 74-56
Jan. 26 Meridian* W 62-51
Jan. 29 Anacortes* L 83-63
Feb. 1 at Bellingham* L 77-76, OT
CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Feb. 5 Blaine W 65-64
Feb. 7 at King's L 55-37
Feb. 8 South Whidbey W 66-56
Feb. 9 Blaine W 66-62
CLASS 1A TRI-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Feb. 14 Port Townsend W 39-31
Feb. 16 Cascade Christian W 59-55
Coach: Gary Ike
1A Trico finish: First (17-1)
Seed: No. 1 out of District 4
Dec. 1 Stevenson W 71-36
Dec. 4 at Woodland W 74-57
Dec. 7 Columbia W 57-41
Dec. 10 LaCenter W 50-37
Dec. 13 at Seton Catholic W 68-41
Dec. 15 King's Way Christian W 82-31
Dec. 19 at Ilwaco W 58-29
Dec. 21 Kalama L 56-41
Dec. 28 White River W 50-47
Dec. 29 Sammamish W 66-54
Jan. 2 at Castle Rock W 56-50
Jan. 4 Woodland W 74-38
Jan. 8 at Columbia W 67-36
Jan. 11 LaCenter W 71-48
Jan. 15 Seton Catholic W 68-42
Jan. 18 at King's Way Christian W 59-37
Jan. 22 Ilwaco W 68-36
Jan. 25 at Kalama W 52-50
Jan. 29 at Stevenson W 77-30
Jan. 31 Castle Rock w 61-42
CLASS 1A SOUTHWEST DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Feb. 7 Forks W 58-35
Feb. 9 Woodland W 58-50
Feb. 15 Kalama W 60-49
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.