ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Girls Basketball: Family roots run deep for CMCS

Three generations of Duinincks, and five groups of sisters, take the floor for the Bluejays

012222.S.WCT.Duininck family.JPG
From left, Janey Duininck, Coco Duininck, Sienna Duininck and Mike Mulder represent three generations of family on the CMCS girls basketball team. Janey is the mother of Coco, a senior, and Sienna, a seventh grader. Mulder is Janey's father and the kids' grandfather.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

PRINSBURG — Plenty of family trees intersect along the bench of the Central Minnesota Christian girls basketball team.

On the 2021-22 squad, the Bluejays have five groups of sisters. There’s Molly and Carrie Mulder; Emma and CC Roiseland; Lauren and Addie Taatjes; and Maaike, Avery and Reece Duininck.

Then, there are three generations of family between the head coach, assistant coach and another pair of sisters.

Senior Coco Duininck is the school’s all-time leading scorer, girls and boys, with 1,929 career points. She’s sharing the floor with her sister Sienna, who’s seeing significant minutes for the Bluejays as a seventh-grader. Their mother, Janey, is an assistant coach. And at the helm of the whole team is Mike Mulder, Janey’s father, and Coco and Sienna’s grandfather.

The basketball court is where the family trees have really bloomed. Through Jan. 20, CMCS is 11-5 overall and leads the Camden Conference North division with an 8-1 record (5-0 in the division).

ADVERTISEMENT

“A number of them live close by (the gym),” Mike Mulder said. “When we call a practice, even when the weather isn’t ideal, we have a couple family members that can come to the gym because they’re within a radius of a few blocks from this gym.

“I see some really good family dynamics and the support through the generations, and I see that continuing with this generation.”

Coco Duininck has been a starter for CMCS since eighth grade. Going into the final stretch of her prep career, she’s grateful for her family, and the other families around her that have helped strengthen the Bluejays’ program.

“I love my little support system, it’s super fun,” Coco said. “I love having my mom right on the sideline, my dad does stats and my grandpa coaches. The rest of the family is in the crowd; it’s really fun.”

120821.S.WCT.CMCS GBB Coco Duininck.jpg
CMCS senior Coco Duininck drives to the hoop during a Camden Conference game against LQPV Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 at Prinsburg.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Bonds in basketball

Both of Coco’s parents, Janey and Trevor, were starting guards for CMCS in the mid-’90s. Both also played collegiately. Trevor played at Bethel University. Janey played for one year at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan before transferring to Bethel.

The head coach during Janey’s high-school days: Mike Mulder. He was the varsity girls basketball coach for three seasons.

“As far as what I learned from my dad coaching, I just learned that he’s really dedicated to this program, to the community, to our school and the players,” Janey said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Janey was a junior varsity coach at CMCS for a year before the head coach position opened for the 2017-18 season. That’s when Mike stepped in again to help the program.

“Four years ago when the opening came out, there were not a lot of applicants,” Mike said. “We knew we had a good nucleus and I had the granddaughters playing.”

Mike took on the head job, but quickly passes credit to his assistants Janey and Roger Mulder (not closely related).

“I don’t necessarily feel I’m always the head coach,” Mike said, “more of the general manager.”

At home, all four of Janey’s kids — Reegan, Coco, Drew and Sienna — were having their love of basketball cultivated.

“We’ve always loved it. We grew up watching it and grew up playing it,” Coco said. “We had a little outdoor hoop and a little (toy) hoop in the basement.”

Sienna added, “We used to play basketball in our basement, playing lightning and stuff. And we played YMCA ball. It was pretty competitive.”

Janey laughed while reminiscing about those formative years.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I spent a lot of time in the gym with the girls and my husband likes to claim that he was the one who started their love of basketball because we had a little plastic basketball hoop. They’d spend hours in the basement.”

Would it get heated? Janey said she never had to break up any issues but “Sienna’s super competitive. She doesn’t like to lose.”

120821.S.WCT.CMCS GBB Sienna Duininck.jpg
CMCS seventh-grader Sienna Duininck (1) guards LQPV's Isabel Gerdes during the first half of a Camden Conference game Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 at Prinsburg.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Mentorship

When Coco earned a starting role as an eighth grader, there were plenty of nerves. During those times, she leaned on help from her older sister Reegan.

“It was very helpful having her on the team for comfort reasons,” Coco said. “It was a little bit intimidating.”

In the ‘17-’18 season, CMCS went 6-19 and there were plenty of growing pains that Janey saw from the sidelines.

“I remember we’d be full-court pressed all the time and we couldn’t even get the ball down the court,” Janey said. “It was frustrating for (Coco) but she kept plowing through it.”

As a freshman, Coco broke out in a big way, scoring 17.9 points per game. Her 465 points that season broke the school’s single-season record of 418, formerly owned by her mother.

Since then, Coco has been a two-time Camden North MVP, averaging 18.9 ppg as a sophomore and 23.3 ppg as a junior.

The team success has followed, with a 20-7 record and a Camden North title in ‘19-’20 and an 11-8 record in the COVID-shortened ‘20-’21 season.

“Coming from a couple years ago, we weren’t as strong a team as we are now,” Coco said. “We knew what it felt like to be the team that wasn’t on top of the Camden Conference. That has really motivated us to become better.”

Through 16 games in her senior campaign, Coco is averaging 22.6 points, 5.0 assists, 4.9 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I see Coco now as a senior and she’s like, ‘All right, let’s go, full-court press,’ and she wants to break that press,” Janey said. “I see that transition with a lot of confidence and leadership. She was kind of quiet in her eighth- and ninth-grade years. Now she’s more vocal on the court and encouraging her teammates and learning by example.”

Having some of the older sisters on the team has helped continue the winning ways.

“Our team chemistry is really there; it’s been helpful to play with the same people for a few years,” Coco said. I’ve played with Molly Mulder, Maaike and Emma for a long time. That’s really helped build a better program for us.”

Like Reegan did for her, Coco is looking after Sienna, who ranks third for CMCS with 8.6 points per game.

“She’s encouraging me if I make a mistake and telling me to keep my head up,” Sienna said. “It’s pretty fun being on the floor with her.”

“I’d say (Sienna’s) further ahead than I was at that age,” said Coco. “They’ll still be games where she’ll be down on herself and we’ll be there to pick her up.”

012222.S.WCT.CMCS sisters.JPG
The CMCS girls basketball team has five groups of sisters scattered across the varsity and junior varsity. Front row, left to right: Carrie Mulder, Addie Taatjes, CC Roiseland, Sienna Duininck, Avery Duininck, and Reece Duininck; Back row: Molly Mulder, Lauren Taatjes, Emma Roiseland, Coco Duininck, and Maaike Duininck.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Family matters

There are plenty of parallels in Mike Mulder’s two stints as Bluejays head coach. Many of the girls he coached in the ‘90s, he’s coaching their kids nowadays.

“Janey was on the team along with Megan Taatjes and Trish Mulder. From that (‘90s) group, now I have seven players from that first generation of players that I coached,” Mike said.

Even he has to be mindful of all the branches of the family trees.

“When we have a lot of similar names on the bench, we didn’t say, ‘Hey Duininck, come over here,’ or ‘Hey Mulder, come over here,’” Mike said, “because the whole gym would come over.”

When Mike returned to coach the team during Coco’s freshman year, she knew what to expect. Mike had coached Coco in YMCA ball.

“I was really excited and I knew he had coaching experience,” Coco said. “I had a positive mindset going in.”

When it comes to his granddaughters, Mike has remained mindful of that unique dynamic.

“In a lot of respects, I really allow Roger, in particular, to coach them a lot because there is a separation I want to maintain as a grandfather and as a coach,” Mike said.

When things are going right on the court, the grandfatherly side shines through regardless of what family it is.

“They appreciate their sisters a lot on the court and it’s rewarding to see that encouragement that each one gives each other, whether it’s a good shot or a good pass,” Mike said. “That’s where the grandpa comes out of me a little bit more. There’s that desire to see them succeed and continue to build the program.”

Like her parents, Coco plans on attending Bethel after high school with hopes of playing college basketball. One of the draws was the close distance to home so she can see her younger siblings play. Along with Sienna, younger brother Drew is a freshman in the rotation for the boys basketball team.

“I was really impressed when I went on the campus tour; they have a very positive and uplifting campus and surrounding,” Coco said. “And it’s close to home. I have young siblings, so I want to come back and watch them as much as I can.”

More Girls Basketball:
Girls basketball report for Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Cardinals edge Tigers 60-59 in non-conference game, getting 15 points from Maycee Gustafson

What To Read Next
Prep hockey report from west central Minnesota for Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Kaydence Roeske makes 41 saves in Stars' 1-0 win versus Cardinals
Khalid Muhumed posts 26 points and 10 rebounds in the Cardinals' 67-51 victory over the Magic.
Prep boys basketball report for Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Senior forward’s 26 points, 10 rebounds help push Willmar past Monticello 67-51
Willmar competes at Mound-Westonka High School while the Minnewaska Lakers take third in the Jazz Division to earn a berth in the state Class A tournament Feb. 17 in Minneapolis