CHARLESTON — Born two minutes ahead of twin sister Alli, Jacob Green gets this squeamish look on his face when asked if he and his sister wore matching outfits as toddlers.
"I don't think so," he said. "We've kind of been our own person we don't really feel like twins, but being so close in age, we've always been competitive with each other — and with our older brother, Michael."
Twins Alli and Jacob Green grew up in an idealistic home, with love, and books, and sports.
Alli — who to this day likes to disappear with a good book, often one she's read more than once — and Jacob were homeschooled by parents Ashlie and Adam Green.
But sports, and the lore of the hometown Charleston Tigers were too much when, in 2016, older brother Michael signed on to play for B.J. Ross' Tigers.
That winter, led by sharp-shooter Brandon Fenner and tough as nails Phillip Hampton, and older brother Michael, Charleston reached the state championship game.
Last winter, two years after Michael was part of the Fort Smith Patriots' homeschool state championship run, it was Alli's turn to take a spin through the limelight.
She loved it.
Charleston's stunning late-season push, culminating with a win over Mountain View in the 3A finals, left Alli in tears — and Jacob yearning for more of the same.
"I was really happy for her," Jacob said. "They came out of nowhere. I remember thinking, 'How in the world did they win?' It made me want to win one this year.
"It kind of mind me work harder this summer."
"I think about it a lot," Alli said. "Doing something I've never done before, being able to do it with somebody you've built this bond with — that's a feeling that's going to be really hard to forget."
The upstart Lady Tigers begin their second season today at the Tiger Dome in West Fork. The regular season champs, who blitzed their way through the 3A-1 West, may be one of the teams to beat at the state tournament.
"Coach (Jason) Rucker talks about having a target on our back, but we have that anyway because we're Charleston, and we pretty much get everyone's best effort," Alli said. "It's been like this since the beginning of the season."
Though they're different people, and they weren't dressed in identical jumpers when they were 5 or 6, both quickly adapted to being homeschooled.
"I really enjoyed being homeschooled. I was in control of school," Alli said. "If you got it done before noon, you had the rest of the day to do what you wanted, and I could read, which is what I really to do."
"Honestly, it (homeschool) works really well," Jacob said. "But "thankfully we found a Co-Op (Fort Smith are homeschoolers) to go to Tuesday and Thursday. We would be with the other homeschool guys on the our team. Honestly, if we hadn't had the Co-Op, it would have been a little bit of a struggle."
Alli believes her Co-Op classmates are thick as blood.
"Homeschooling is in it for life thing," Green said. "The friends we've made in the Co-Op, I expect to be friends with them in the future."
Laurie R. King
Alli doesn't just read for fun, she reads for the adventure, too.
"To me, there's nothing better than a good book," she said. "I'll bring books on the bus and read on the way to games. During vacation, I will read seven to eight books."
New York Times Bestselling author Laurie R. King is one of her favorites. "'The marriage of Mary Russell,' I've read that book many times," she said.
Alli is currently reading "All The Light We Cannon See" by Pulitzer prize winner Anthony Doerr.
Her love of books notwithstanding, Alli grew up a tomboy, never shying away from driveway hoops or backyard football — though she wasn't allowed to be tackled.
"We could play pickup basketball; me and my dad against Michael and Jacob," Alli said. "I always liked to be outside and climbing trees. We would play (football) games with the neighbor. I would get frustrated that I couldn't play tackle football."
"We played together a lot outside," Jacob said. "She was like a tomboy. Sports was always our thing."
Older brother Michael played one season for Ross' Tigers.
Two years later, his middle siblings are living the dream.
"He gets to be the Guinea pig and go through life doing things first," Alli said. "He gets to experience all the first and then he gets to tell us, 'This is what it's going to be like.'
"He's an Electrical engineer major at UAFS."
Alli and Jacob haven't graduated from high school yet. But they have quite a few hours of college under their belts.
"The last two years, my sister and I have taken concurrent (online) classes from UAFS and Arkansas Tech," Jacob said. "We'll have 24 hours of college credit when we graduate (high school).
"I'm planning to go into nursing, and to have that (college credit) behind me will be really huge."
The youngest of Ashlie and Adam's kids, Audrey, may not follow in her older brother and sisters footsteps into sports.
"She does not like sport," Jacob said. "She plays the piano, and she's good."
Alli and Jacob, following in Michael's footsteps, have been playing basketball since they were 4.
For Jacob, the light clicked when he was 14. He was a Fort Smith Patriot then.
"I started working out every day, trying to get better," he said. "When I was 14, that's when I really fell in love with it."
Jacob's Tigers, who scuffled late, dropping two of their final four games, earned the No. 2 seed.
They face Waldron on Friday in West Fork.
"We've definitely had a funk the last few games," Green said. "(But) I'd rather have that now. I feel like we're starting to get back to where it needs to be."