Niagara Gazette — Jamie Curry has never had much trouble relating to her cousins.
It matters little that the oldest of the bunch has more than 10 years on the 17-year-old. Just give them a ball, a basket and maybe a parent to referee when the girls’ competitive personalities take over, and there’s no mistaking basketball as the basis of their family bond.
Since the oldest, Kristen, 29, played her last game for the Wilson girls basketball team over a decade ago, the name Curry has become somewhat synonymous with Lakewomen hoops.
In fact, there has been perhaps no greater beneficiary of the Curry family’s love for basketball than the Lakewomen teams for which each girl played, and starred, during their time at Wilson.
After Jamie’s cousin Nicole, now 27, continued what Kristen started two years later, Ashley (24), Kadie (22), and Molly (19), who played on the same teams as Jamie and her sister, Jessica (20), followed.
“When I was little, I used to go to all my cousin’s games,” Curry said after pointing out that not one of the parents in the family ever played basketball. “I always used to say how I wanted to be just like them and play just like them. They just kind of taught me how to play.
“Basketball is how we bonded. We would just head outside and the whole family played 3-on-3, and that’s how we communicated with each other.”
Jamie is the latest — and final — Curry to come through the Wilson pipeline. This season, in traditional Curry fashion, the Lakewomen co-captain is doing her best to live up to the name that has helped transform the Wilson girls program into a perennial Niagara-Orleans League powerhouse.
Curry, a 6-foot-tall guard, is averaging 13.7 points, 6.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds over 15 games for a first-place Lakewomen (14-1, 11-0) team that has yet to lose in the league this season.
Ranked 10th in Class B state wide heading into tonight’s 6:30 road tip off against CSAT, Wilson appears primed for its fourth straight N-O title. The fact that there’s once again a Curry behind the team’s success is hardly an accident.
“When you hear the name Curry, you immediately think it’s somebody who’s very coachable, family-oriented, a team player, always looking out for teammates, leader, role model. The list goes on,” Wilson coach Brian Baker said. “I believe winning breeds winning. Once you see the success her cousins and sister had, you immediately know you’’ll get that and more from Jamie.”
Since Curry started on the varsity squad as a freshman, the Lakewomen are 50-2 against league opponents. They also have a pair of Section VI titles, and Curry has her eyes set on her third this year after the team fell just short in the Class B championship last season.
It hasn’t always been easy for Curry. Living up to the name isn’t as simple as it sounds, and she’s had to battle through injuries, and out from the towering shadow of her sister, Jessica, who this season is leading a resurgent NCCC womens team after leaving her mark on the Wilson record books.
“With my family being all into basketball, they and my teammates were always there for me,” Curry said. “With playing sports, you know you always have a family. No matter what happens or what you’re going through, they’re all going to be there.”
Now, Curry finds herself breaking some of the records set by her sister and her cousins before her.
She already holds Wilson records for 3-pointers in a game (5) and season (47) and for assists in a season at 93, a record she broke during Tuesday’s 59-32 win over Akron.
With three regular season games -- and likely a few more in the postseason -- still to be played before she calls it a career, Curry sits three assists behind her cousin Molly’s mark of 226 for most in a career and is within striking distance of the school’s steals record.
And while Curry won’t catch Jessica’s 972 points for second on the career scoring list, she sits comfortably in third with 760 and counting, averaging 14.6 per game over her time at Wilson.
Following last season, when she scored a career-best 307 points, Curry was named an honorable mention on the all-Western New York team.
“For a small school like us to have someone in that category is pretty incredible,” Baker said. “Because our teams have been so good, she’s sat for a lot of minutes over the years when she could’ve been playing. … Her numbers could be even better.”
As it turns out, it’s no coincidence that, together, the six Curry cousins make for a perfect 3-on-3 pickup game.
Curry points to her family -- and Baker, who may as well be considered part of the Curry family for the influence he’s had on the girls since he took over as varsity coach five years ago -- for helping her get to where she is today.
As the senior departs to play college ball at Fredonia following graduation in the spring, Baker said things will be a bit strange without a Curry dribbling around Zipp Gymnasium for the first time since he started coaching.
“I was joking the other day that now it’s time for me to retire,” Baker laughed. “I tell her mom they might have to adopt another kid. Life without a Curry is going to be a little strange, in the most positive way.”Follow reporter Brandon Schlager on Twitter @B_Schlag.