WINTHROP – Someone asked Tim Gingras to give a quick scouting report on his older brother, Mike, and for Mike to do the same for his little brother.

Tim, a junior guard for Winthrop, had a little trouble coming up with the right words immediately, so Mike, a senior guard for the Ramblers and the more vocal of the siblings, stepped in and gave his assessment first.

“I think, if he wants to be, Tim can be one of the best players on the court at all times,” Mike said. “Mentally, he’s really picked it up this year. When he was younger, he was really a dominant scorer, but the past couple of years, with the team philosophy and having Sam (Leclerc) and other people that can score, he’s let his defense do that talking. I think next year, he’ll be one of the top scorers.”

It was Tim’s turn to return the compliment to his big brother. But first, he took the opportunity to show his comic timing was as acute as his timing when going after a steal or a block.

“I don’t have anything,” he joked.

Then he gave a scouting report of the senior guard with which Mountain Valley Conference opponents are all too familiar.

“When he gets on the court, you know that he’s definitely one of the best players out there. When he gets the ball in his hands, he can do whatever he wants with it,” he said. “But he’s at his best when he’s dishing and creating and making it easier for everyone else at the offensive end.”

Winthrop begins defense of its Western Class C title tonight at the Augusta Civic Center, and the Gingras brothers will have even more say in how that goes than they do about each other’s skills.

While Leclerc, a junior point guard and the leading scorer in the MVC this year, is the focal point of the Ramblers’ offense, it’s often one or both of the Gingras’ who provides the spark at either end of the floor.

Last year, each brother was limited in what impact he could have on the game. Mike was an offensive weapon, Tim a defensive stopper. Each has been more well-rounded this season, according to coach Dennis Dacus.

“Mikey’s role from the very start of the year, losing as many points as we did, was to take as many open shots as he could and play better defense than he has in the past,” Dacus said. “It’s been quite evident. In our loss at Mountain Valley, Mike struggled defensively a little bit. But in our two wins against Dirigo and Boothbay, he’s played outstanding defense. When he comes to play defense, we’re tough to beat.”

Tim’s athleticism and wing-span allows Dacus to have him guard the opposition’s biggest offensive threat, whether it’s a slashing play-maker such as Boothbay’s Owen Johnson or a big man such as Mountain Valley’s Andy Shorey. And, just as important to the Ramblers, he has made himself harder to guard.

“Timmy’s role at the beginning of the year was defense, rebounds and just being the defensive stopper that we need,” Dacus said. “But the thing that has been surprising is Timmy’s scoring has gone up tremendously from last year (from about 3 points per game to about 10). He’s so good around the basket. He’s wiry. He gets rebounds. He’s really good at up-and-unders. In the open floor, he’s going to beat most people to the basket.”

Mike said his brother plays with “a Ron Artest-type chip on his shoulder, but more under control, obviously. I think that’s what makes him such a good defender and such a good all-around player.”

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