You heard right: Wilson of Henryetta has four brothers in the starting lineup

You heard right: Wilson of Henryetta has four brothers in the starting lineup

With the four Shelburn brothers in the starting lineup, Wilson of Henryetta won the Class B boys state basketball title and carved its away into state lore.

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Mar 3, 2024, 9:10am CST

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Mar 3, 2024, 9:10am CST

(A verson of this story first appeared in Berry Tramel’s newsletter. Subscribe here.)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Public address announcer Steve Daniels’ voice seemed to be caught. Repeating the same word over and over during starting lineup introductions.

Shelburn. Shelburn. Shelburn. Shelburn.

Zion Shelburn. Ke’shon Shelburn. Za’brien Shelburn. Charles Shelburn.

Only Andrew Wilson broke up the staccato of Daniels’ voice as he called out the Wilson of Henryetta lineup at State Fair Arena.

That’s what having four brothers in the lineup will do.

Yep, four. Twin freshmen Zion and Za’brien; sophomore Ke’Shon; junior Charles.

“It’s overwhelming to see all my kids out there,” said Natasha Francis, the boys’ mother. “I knew once they got together, it would be something special.”

Something special indeed. Wilson of Henryetta beat  Calumet 69-45 Saturday for the Class B boys state championship. Four brothers in the starting lineup.

“It’s special, man,” said Wilson coach Grant Proctor. “We know it doesn’t happen often.”

Lots of teams have brothers in the starting lineup. A few teams have had three brothers, notably triplets Ronald, Harold and Donald Murphy, who helped lead Classen to the 1975 Class 3A title almost half a century ago.

But four? Eighty percent of the lineup? 

Yes, four.

In the semifinals Friday, with 3:20 left in the game against Duke, Wilson’s Esiah King scored on a putback. Not a particularly important field goal, since it gave Wilson a 54-33 lead on Duke.

But a unique field goal. Finally, someone other than a Shelburn brother had scored for Wilson.

The Shelburns totaled the first 52 Wilson points; they finished with 53. Ke’shon scored 15, Za’brien 14, Zion and Charles 12 each.

In the title game, the Shelburns combined for 64 of Wilson’s 69 points, though the scoring was not quite so egalitarian; Ke’shon and Za’brien each exploded for 25 points.

“It’s amazing, just the chemistry,” said Zion. “We know how to play together, pick each other up and keep on going; we’re not going to put each other down. I know where they are all the time.”

Three years ago, the Shelburns moved to Wilson, located just north of Henryetta, a few miles off U.S. 75. Francis wanted her sons to play for Proctor.

“I just felt like Grant was the right coach for them,” said Francis.

Growing up, the Shelburn brothers would play front-yard basketball, two-on-two. First team to 100 because that’s what it seemed like the NBA did.

No doubt fearsome games. And it doesn’t matter which two played against which two. Their skill sets seem similar.

They are not, of course. 

“They’re way more advanced than I am,” said Charles, the oldest of the four. 

Proctor sees their distinct contributions to victory.

Zion’s quickness and shooting ability. Ke’Shon’s length and ability to excel in transition. Charles’ rebounding and commitment to the dirty work. ZaBrien’s scoring.

We’ll have to take Proctor’s word for it. When watching them, the Shelburns look like whirling dribblers and passers and cutters, all capable of anything the other can do on the court.

“We knew once they all got into high school together, we had a chance to be special,” said Proctor,  himself a Wilson graduate. “Almost like seeing is believing.”

Proctor said the only challenge to coaching four brothers is getting them to see each other as teammates and not brothers. Especially since that’s how they see themselves, home or on the basketball court.

Good luck with that.

“They’re brothers,” said their mother.

When they were young, probably a decade ago, an uncle told them about State Fair Arena. The Big House. Until Wednesday, they never had darkened the door. Now they’ve taken State by storm.

And one more thing. There’s a fifth brother. Jacquarrie. A seventh grader.

So next season doesn’t have to be the final season of four Shelburns starting for Wilson. It could happen again in 2026. Three straight years of four Shelburn brothers starting for Wilson, which could get awfully repetitive for the basketball teams of small-school Oklahoma.

Share with your crowd
Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

The latest from Sellout Crowd

  • Mr. Cowboy: How John Smith said goodbye to Oklahoma State wrestling

  • There’s time for NBA Playoff concerns. Now is the time for Thunder appreciation

  • Oklahoma's Kelly Maxwell (28) pitches during a college softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and BYU at Love's Field in Norman, Okla., Saturday, April 13, 2024. Oklahoma won 7-3.

    Why OU’s pitching staff would be sunk without Kelly Maxwell

  • Oct 7, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Da'Jon Terry (95) and defensive lineman Jordan Kelley (88) and linebacker Jaren Kanak (7) celebrate during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Another sign the SEC era is upon us: Sooners’ practice-field trash talking

  • A year ago, Nick Martin, left, and Ollie Gordon were fighting for starting spots at Oklahoma State. Now, they are Cowboy stars. How they navigated that change should bode well for OSU next season. (Michael Lane illustration/Sellout Crowd. Photos by USA Today Sports)

    Ollie Gordon and Nick Martin: From faces in the crowd to faces of OSU

The latest from Sellout Crowd

  • Mr. Cowboy: How John Smith said goodbye to Oklahoma State wrestling

  • There’s time for NBA Playoff concerns. Now is the time for Thunder appreciation

  • Oklahoma's Kelly Maxwell (28) pitches during a college softball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and BYU at Love's Field in Norman, Okla., Saturday, April 13, 2024. Oklahoma won 7-3.

    Why OU’s pitching staff would be sunk without Kelly Maxwell

  • Oct 7, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Da'Jon Terry (95) and defensive lineman Jordan Kelley (88) and linebacker Jaren Kanak (7) celebrate during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Another sign the SEC era is upon us: Sooners’ practice-field trash talking

  • A year ago, Nick Martin, left, and Ollie Gordon were fighting for starting spots at Oklahoma State. Now, they are Cowboy stars. How they navigated that change should bode well for OSU next season. (Michael Lane illustration/Sellout Crowd. Photos by USA Today Sports)

    Ollie Gordon and Nick Martin: From faces in the crowd to faces of OSU