BOISE — Somewhere, hanging in the halls of Boise High School, there’s a photo.
The picture is of fraternal twins Peyton and Vince McFarland — the senior star posts of the Boise girls and boys basketball teams. But upon further inspection, it reveals so much more.
“I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not have him as my twin,” Peyton said. “I look at people who have siblings, and you just can’t connect on the same level. I really wish we could play together to be honest.”
Andy and Wendi McFarland put in for an adoption hoping to get one baby — they got two. Ninety days after filing paperwork, 1-year-olds Peyton, who is two minutes older, and Vince were on a plane from Houston to Boise. Their birth mother, Kortney, who they’ve since developed a relationship with, put them up for adoption. She was a young working single mom in college with two daughters she could barely take care of already. So Peyton and Vince spent two months in foster care before going almost 2,000 miles north.
“I always knew they were going to be great. I just didn’t know they would be this great,” Wendi said. “We drew the lucky ticket with them for sure.”
Like most twins, Peyton and Vince were close. They even had their own language as toddlers. It included each of them calling the other, “Dee Dee.” So naturally, the two started playing basketball together at 5.
However, despite them both pushing 6-foot in middle school, Peyton and Vince, who are now 6-foot-4 and 6-6, respectively, were far from naturals.
Half the time, Vince had the ball go through his hands. The other half of the time he bounced it off of his foot or off an opposing player out of bounds.
“He was long and gangly,” Boise boys coach Manny Varela said. “He was awkward and looked like a newborn giraffe. We knew he was going to be tall, but we didn’t know if he was going to be a basketball player.”
Peyton wasn’t any better.
Even though she was tall enough to get her own rebound, she routinely missed shot after shot after shot. Peyton was so afraid to make a mistake, that she often tried to hide out in the bathroom during games and practices.
“It was always really embarrassing,” Peyton said.
But Peyton stuck it out — Vince didn’t. He quit playing club ball in the sixth grade.
“I sucked, but everyone expected me to be this amazing player right away,” Vince said. “I didn’t like the pressure of everyone saying, ‘Well if I had your height I’d be so good.’”
While Vince tried his hand at other sports like lacrosse and track, Peyton eventually figured it out with the help of Hoop Dreams. So much so, that she started alongside now University of Oklahoma junior forward Mandy Simpson as just a freshman for the Brave. Peyton was also just one of two freshmen to earn All-5A Southern Idaho Conference honors that season. It all led to her first phone call from Washington State.
She followed that up by leading Boise to back-to-back state tournament appearances, the latter of which while dealing with the after effects of a broken ankle. Peyton also earned All-SIC honors both of those seasons, including a first-team nod last year.
“Peyton has been the core of what we’ve done these last few years. If we didn’t have Peyton, we would be in a much different situation right now,” Boise girls coach Kim Brydges said. “But more than that, I think her legacy is that she always played hard, cared about her teammates and always had that team-first mentality. So she’s one of the best players to ever come through here, at least in my 15 years.”
Vince, meanwhile, returned to basketball in the eighth grade. But after being called up to varsity at the end of his freshman year when Boise won the SIC tile, he was sent back down to junior varsity the following season.
He did start on varsity the next year, but only averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. So Vince didn’t earn any All-SIC honors for the third consecutive season.
That should change this year, though.
Like his sister before, Vince turned himself into one of the league’s best players. He’s ranked in the top-15 in four different statistical categories. Vince is 12th in scoring (10.9), fourth in rebounding (7.8), 13th in steals (1.4) and 10th in blocks at 0.8 per game.
He now holds offers from junior colleges like Peninsula College and Green River Community College in Washington, along with Blue Mountain Community College in Oregon. Vince also has Boise (12-8 overall, 9-8 SIC) one game back of Eagle for fourth place in the state’s toughest conference.
“He’s only really been playing basketball for two years,” Varela said. “He had all the talent in the world. He was 6-6, could jump out of the gym, didn’t get tired and a freak athletically. If he would of put in the time, he could have been great earlier. But he was in the situation where I’m like, ‘I’m tall and my friends are doing it, so I guess I’ll go out.’ But he wasn’t passionate or dedicated to it. So now that he’s putting in the time, he’s really honing in on what he can really be. He’s just barely scratching the surface of his potential.”
Peyton has had a memorable final season as well.
Before the year began, ESPN had her as a four-star recruit, the 10th-best post and 80th-overall prospect in the country for the 2020 class. She signed with the University of Utah in November after fielding other offers from Oklahoma and California.
Peyton is the second-leading scorer in the league at 16.2 ppg, second in rebounds at 8.8 and third in blocks with 1.5. She was nominated for the 2020 McDonald’s All-American Game last month — one of only 534 players from across the country, and the second from Idaho with Timberline’s Ava Ranson.
She just eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone on Tuesday. Peyton needed just two points, but got a career-high 32 in a 57-45 win over Eagle in a 5A District III Tournament game to punch Boise’s (15-8) ticket to state for the third year in a row. The Brave have been ranked as high as No. 1 in the state.
In addition, Peyton has the highest value points system rating in program history at 1.92. A 1.25 or above is considered excellent.
“I feel bad because I don’t really get hyped about that kind of stuff,” Peyton said. “I don’t know. It’s cool I guess.”
That’s because she and Vince’s real joy comes from watching the other succeed. Like the time that picture was taken.
“I remember when I got on varsity and I had like my first big game, Peyton and I took that picture afterwards. It was like, ‘Yeah, this is the McFarland twin power,” Vince said. “That picture is also hanging up in our house. It represents who we are. It’s tight.”