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High school basketball: Struggles help drive siblings from Weleetka

All five Bencoma brothers have been part of football or basketball teams that accomplished something significant in Weleetka. They also deserve credit for another important choice — a decision to keep alcohol out of their lives.
by Scott Wright Published: February 27, 2013

photo - From left, Rodney, Eric, Shaun, Kyle, and William Bencoma at Weleetka High School on Tuesday. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
From left, Rodney, Eric, Shaun, Kyle, and William Bencoma at Weleetka High School on Tuesday. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

“We're all pretty smart. We watched them while we were growing up, seeing what alcohol does to you,” said Eric, the middle of the five brothers. “We had a pretty good example of what not to do.”

The examples of alcohol's impact reached the brothers at a much simpler level, too.

“When I was really young, I realized I didn't want that as a part of my life,” said William, who works with twin brother Rodney as assistant coaches for the basketball team. “Especially when I'd see people who drank and how out of shape they'd get, so if I did that, I might get out of shape and couldn't play sports.

“I just didn't want to go through that. And if I ever have kids someday, I don't want to put a kid through that, because I saw my family struggle and I know what it feels like.”

But the Bencomas still deflect the credit for living their lives on a firm foundation.

For that, they point to God, and grandma.

Their grandparents, Marvin and Pam Brown, took the family in when Anthony and Phenie struggled to provide for all of their children in the mid-1990s.

The brothers, who have always had strong spiritual lives at churches in and around Weleetka, call Pam the toughest person they know, and the central foundational figure in their lives.

“She's tough as nails,” Rodney said. “She's been incredibly important in every one of our lives, especially when we've needed someone to go to.”

Pam had knee surgery two weeks ago. She was told to wait until after basketball season, so that she wouldn't have to miss any of Shaun's games.

Just days after the surgery, she attended the area championship, and she'll be in Bethany for Thursday's game, too.

“She's a fighter,” Shaun said. “She has helped me through a lot of stuff and encouraged me to get better as a person and a basketball player.

“She's our No. 1 fan. She's always been there for us, and she's a good person to strive to be like. We wouldn't be where we are without her.”

by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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