Dixie chicks: 5 sisters team up with one goal in mind, Summer Games gold

ST. GEORGE –It’s a familiar story: A group of siblings, who were high school and college sports stars, get together to form their own “Dream Team,” joining forces to capitalize on their talents and perhaps win a local tournament or competition.

The Shaheens had this dream, just like many other families. But what makes this story unique is that the Shaheens are all sisters, and the dream has been on hold for years because many of the sisters were pregnant or off getting married.

The Shaheen sisters, as they were known before they all were married, are finally getting to team up and play together in the Utah Summer Games.

And these are not your ordinary girls next door, either. These ladies are good. All of them starred on high school teams, notching state championships along the way. And three of the sisters went on to play college basketball.

This is the first time the sisters have gotten to team up together to play in an organized tournament.

“We always wanted to play together, but one of us would be pregnant, or Mandi was living too far away because her husband is in the Air Force,” said sister No. 3, Dani Jensen, who happens to be the wife of Snow Canyon girls basketball coach Wade Jensen.

The women have been practicing for their Summer Games debut at Jensen’s SCHS gymnasium in anticipation of what they hope is a run to a gold medal.

Now for the introductions:

Nikki Basile, of St. George, played at Pine View High School and went on to play at Dixie State College.

Mandi Brown, who now lives in Las Vegas, was the MVP of the 1993 state tournament as she helped lead the Pine View Panthers to a state championship. Brown went on to play at Southern Utah University and was an Honorable Mention All-American her senior year.

Dani Jensen, the middle of the five girls, is still living in St. George. Jensen helped the Lady Warriors win a state championship in 1998, a feat her husband duplicated this past season as head coach at Snow Canyon. Dani went on to play at SUU as well.

The final two sisters are twins. Kaeli Fowles of Cedar City and Kari Shaheen of St. George. Fowles and Shaheen both played at Snow Canyon High School.

The sisters love to play ball and every time they have a chance to get together, whether it’s a holiday or a birthday party, they head right to a church or gym to play.

Fresh off that state championship, one would think Wade Jensen would be a natural to coach the team. Not so, said wife Dani, with a gleam in her eye.

“He would, but could you imagine if he took me out?” she said. “That wouldn’t be good.”

Wade said he knows better than to get in this team’s way.

“I’m just here to get them a gym to practice in and cheer them on,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to watch. These girls can play.”

The sisters do have some help as well. Teaming up with the Shaheen sisters are St. George natives Michelle Kelsch, Julie Peterson and Amber Menasco.

The focused team has been practicing at Snow Canyon High School and will start their Utah Summer Games experience Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Canyon View High School. The tournament goes through Saturday in Cedar City.

For more SPORTS TALK, tune into Blake’s Take weekdays from 5-6 p.m. on KZNU Sports Radio – 93.1 FM 1450 AM – or online streaming live on the brand new KZNU Sports website: www.kznusports.com

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Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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