Brothers on Three
A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana
**Winner of the 2021 Montana Book Award**
**Winner of the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona General Nonfiction Book Award**
**Finalist for the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Nonfiction**
**A New York Times Editors' Choice Pick**
"A heart-stomping, heart-stopping read. Unsentimental. Unforgettable. Astonishing. Brothers on Three captures the roar of a community spirit powered by blood history, loyalty, and ferocious love."
—Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red
From journalist Abe Streep, a story of coming-of-age on a reservation in the American West and a team uniting a community
March 11, 2017, was a night to remember: in front of the hopeful eyes of thousands of friends, family members, and fans, the Arlee Warriors would finally bring the high school basketball state championship title home to the Flathead Indian Reservation. The game would become the stuff of legend, with the boys revered as local heroes. The team’s place in Montana history was now cemented, but for starters Will Mesteth, Jr. and Phillip Malatare, life would keep moving on—senior year was just beginning.
In Brothers on Three, we follow Phil and Will, along with their teammates, coaches, and families, as they balance the pressures of adolescence, shoulder the dreams of their community, and chart their own individual courses for the future.
Brothers on Three is not simply a story about high school basketball, state championships, and a winning team. It is a book about community, and it is about boys on the cusp of adulthood finding their way through the intersecting worlds they inhabit and forging their own paths to personhood.
Journalist Streep debuts with an earnest account of a Montana high school basketball team's quest to repeat as state champions in 2018. Most players on the Arlee Warriors had familial ties to the Salish and Kootenai tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and Streep documents growing excitement in the community during the team's march to victory in the 2017 "Class C" final. He also details a star player's work with a literacy coach to keep up his grades, and an administrator's concerns that the competitive pressure might spike suicide rates, which were already high among Native American boys. During the 2017 2018 season, the stakes were raised, especially for the team's seniors, many of whom sought a college education with the goal of returning to make Arlee better. Streep documents injuries and illnesses that nearly derailed the season, and describes how the players and their coach launched a suicide prevention initiative. After winning a second state championship, some Warriors left Arlee to play college ball. Streep is in top form with the on-court action and insights into the discrimination faced by Native athletes, though he somewhat shortchanges the tribal history. Still, this is a rousing portrait of a long-shot team beating the odds. Illus.