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Sisters Peyton, left, and Andrea Cournoyer have Merryville off to a 20-0 start as the Panthers head into the heart of the District 4-1A schedule. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Sisters Peyton, left, and Andrea Cournoyer have Merryville off to a 20-0 start as the Panthers head into the heart of the District 4-1A schedule. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Savvy siblings: Cournoyers cornerstones in Merryville

Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:32 AM

By Albert Burford / American Press

MERRYVILLE — Certain names seem to dominate the box scores of Southwestern Louisiana basketball games year after year.

One of those names is Cournoyer, the surname of a family of athletes from Merryville.

Peyton and Andrea, the two Cournoyer sisters playing for the Lady Panthers, are carrying on the tradition their older sister Rayne began. The name Cournoyer could now be roughly translated as “playmaker, producer or star” by many of Merryville’s District 4-1A opponents.

Peyton, a senior, dons the No. 10 jersey while younger sister Andrea, an eighth-grader, fittingly plays as No. 11.

It’s all in the pedigree for the sisters. Their father played baseball and their mother played basketball at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

“I look up to them,” Andrea said. “It’s hard, because you know you have to meet these standards and expectations. It helps me, though. I have to do my best because they’re expecting it.”

The sisters have led Merryville to a 20-0 record. The Panthers have won by double digits in all but one game, a 56-48 contest against East Beauregard (15-2).

Merryville head coach Mark Perow said the sisters are great, because on any given night one has the potential to put up 30 points or so, but it’s not all about Andrea and Peyton.

“Offensively we’ve got those two Cournoyers that everybody seems to worry about,” Perow said. “They come out and they’re going to play. My other three people play, and I have two more that come off the bench and they can all play. They get the job done as a team. They like playing together and you can see that when you watch them. It’s not a one- or two-man show.”

As is the case with many siblings, a little bit of fighting is inevitable.

“We fight all the time. Even on the court, you can see it,” Peyton said. “Sometimes we don’t (resolve the issues) and we don’t pass the ball to each other or something, but we try to get over it before game time.”

For the most part, grudges don’t impede their game.

Peyton often comes down with rebounds, looks up and lobs an outlet pass to Andrea, who races the length of the court to score.

“We have a connection,” Peyton said. “She knows what I’m going to do and I know what she’s going to do.”

Despite Andrea’s youth, Perow said she has been a leader.

“She’s good — as an eighth-grader, she comes out and sets the tempo for us offensively and defensively,” he said.

That’s not to take away from Peyton, who has also shown she has the ability to produce offensively and consistently plays shut-down defense.

“(Peyton) is a nice complement because she can score and defensively, she can take and guard the best player the team has,” Perow said.

Andrea doesn’t mind playing against opponents five or six years her senior, and said she tries to be a leader and not worry about who she’s up against.

Basketball is the girls’ favorite sport, but Peyton also runs track and cross country and plays softball. Andrea runs track and plays softball in addition to basketball and plans on branching out to try the pole vault this year.

The sisters aren’t too shabby in track and field, either.

They helped Merryville to a sixth-place finish in Class 1A in the 2013 state meet. Peyton finished fifth in the triple jump and third in the 100-meter low hurdles, while Andrea was sixth in the 300-meter hurdles.

District opponents still have this season to deal with Peyton and another four years to hear Andrea’s name, but that won’t be the end either.

With an 11-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl in the family, sports fans in Southwest Louisiana should get used to the name.

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