When the Roberson siblings of Arlington — Kelsey, a senior at Bentley, Emma, a freshman at Tufts, and Harrison, a junior at the Belmont Hill School — take the court, their parents are also executing their own game plan.
For Harry and Noreen Roberson, Saturday’s schedule had them watching a computer video feed of the Bentley women's game at Southern New Hampshire at 1:30 p.m., and then driving to Tufts in Medford, where the women's squad was hosting Regis at 2.
“We're taking our iPad in the car to keep track of Kelsey,” said Harry, who coached their daughters on the Fidelity House travel team and Emma with the inaugural St. Agnes School girls’ team in their hometown.
At approximately 3:15, the Robersons planned to leave Cousens Gym at Tufts for Belmont Hill and Harrison's opening boys’ varsity game against Loomis, while still following their daughters’ progress on their iPad.
Kelsey, a two-year captain at Bentley who has earned a scholarship and won the starting job at the two-guard this season, and Emma, who is seeing significant minutes off the bench at the same position for the Jumbos, were 1,000-point career scorers at Catholic Central League power Arlington Catholic High.
Bentley (4-0) was ranked second nationally in Division 2 last week, and Tufts (5-0) was 12th in Division 3.
The Robersons, whose neighbors in Arlington Heights include Arlington Catholic girls’ coach Dave Brady, installed a court in their backyard six years ago so their kids could shoot hoops until the “floodlights out” call, well into the evening.
Last January, Kelsey made an unannounced visit to midcourt to give Emma the game ball she used to hit the milestone for the Cougars.
“I never expected it, it was very exciting,”' said Emma, who helped lead Brady's team to its first state title in her junior year, and was the Globe’s Division 2 Player of the Year last season as a senior.
“My brother and I always looked up to Kelsey for advice, and it's great to see the 1,000 points banner in our school gym with our names on it.''
Elise Caira, a former teammate of Kelsey at Bentley, is the all-time girls’ scoring leader at Arlington Catholic (1,571 points). Emma (1,211) is third and Kelsey is (1,091) fifth.
“Emma made the varsity her freshman year when I was a senior, and we had a great run to the team's first North sectional championship,” recalled Kelsey, who at 5 feet 7 is an inch shorter than her sister.
Kelsey, who received Bentley’s Most Improved Player award last winter, is averaging 8.2 points and 2.2 rebounds this season, including a 14-point effort in Bentley's opening game win over Holy Family. She hit the biggest shot of her college career in the NCAA Division 2 regional semis in March. Bentley was trailing Franklin Pierce in the closing minutes by five points when Roberson canned a 3-pointer described as “huge” by coach Barbara Stevens. The Falcons rallied for the win en route to the Elite Eight.
“I suppose being named Most Improved means you still have room for improvement, and because being a two-year captain means your teammates are behind you, that drives me even more,”' she said.
Stevens, who recruited Emma as a walk-on, would have liked another Roberson at Bentley, but respects and supports her decision to attend Tufts.
“She made a great choice,” said Stevens.
Tufts coach Carla Berube, Belmont Hill coach Al Murphy, and Stevens all mention “basketball IQ” when describing the Robersons.
“Every time Kelsey walks on the court she gives it everything she has, and she played a significant role in our success last season,” said Stevens. “She's a confident player and rightfully so.
“Like her sister, she's played in pressure games on the big stage in high school, and that's a great experience to have moving on to the college game.”
Berube said that Emma's 16 minutes and 5 points per game just a season after high school “is testament to the kind of player she is. We had a couple of injuries to our wing players and Emma has stepped up.”
Harry Roberson, a hockey player during his high school days in New Jersey, found out early on that his kids preferred a warm gym to a cold rink. But he's hardly disappointed.
“We're very lucky that the girls are at universities that are great academic institutions, have nationally successful women's basketball programs, have terrific coaches,” and, he said, “are within 5 miles of home.”
The 6-foot Harrison, primarily a shooting guard who can also handle the point, averaged 8.5 points per game last season. He is also captain-elect on Belmont Hill’s baseball team.
“He's just an incredibly intelligent, heady player who has made tremendous strides,” said Murphy.
Last month, when Arlington Catholic played a preseason game at Babson College, Harry Roberson coached the team, because under MIAA rules Brady and his staff could not.
It was the icing on the cake, so to speak.
“When Kelsey was a freshman, her mom started a tradition of bringing cupcakes for the team, and other families joined in,” said Brady, in his 17th season at the high school. “So when we played at Babson, Noreen brought some more.
“Kelsey and Emma's leadership qualities were off the charts in a positive way and they were ready for the college game before they graduated high school,” added Brady. “It's definitely different here without a Roberson on the court.”Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.