Sisters can be rivals, or sisters can be friends. Decatur High has both.
Teammates are often closely knit, but with pairs Cierra and Tierra Wallace and Oniesha and Brittany Hampton, sisterhood floods the Red Raider girls basketball roster.
“I’ve had sisters before, but only one set at a time,” Decatur coach Brad Boy said.
The Wallace sisters picked up basketball in the seventh grade, following the path of their mother. Both their mother, Rosie Wallace, and aunt, Wendy Wallace, played for Decatur and were members of the 1990 and 1991 Decatur state championship teams.
Identical twins, Cierra and Tierra have confused everyone from teachers to coaches to officials. They share the same bedroom, have the same schedule (except for Spanish and French classes) and sit at the same lunch table. They finish each other’s sentences.
The pair giggled when asked if people have trouble telling them apart.
“We’ll tell them our name, and then they’ll come back and say the wrong name, again,” Tierra said.
Their coaches rely on jersey numbers to tell the twins apart.
“Thirty starts with ‘T,’ so does ‘Tierra,’ so 30 is Tierra,” said Boy, admitting he relies on simple methods to distinguish between the two. Ask their mother, and she’ll say the only visible difference is a scar by Tierra’s eye and a small beauty mark on the side of Cierra’s face. With a difference that small, come game time, there’s no chance of telling them apart.
The Wallaces, both 5-foot-3 juniors, do nearly everything together. When Cierra suffered a knee injury in September, Tierra felt the difference.
“I feel so incomplete when my sister’s not there, because that’s my partner in crime,” Tierra said. “We are always together.”
Besides their closeness, the twins’ style of play works for the Red Raider’s man-to-man defense and fast-paced play.
“They’re incredibly quick, and that’s really what they bring to us,” Boy said.
The Hampton sisters are easier to tell apart. Oniesha, a 5-foot-4 senior point guard, is the characteristic “mother hen” of the group, Boy said, and isn’t shy when it comes to giving feedback — particularly to Brittany, a 5-foot-6 junior.
“She’s like, ‘Just do better,’ ” said Brittany of her sister. “We work together good. She just has to stay far enough away for me to get it.”
The Hampton sisters usually practice together, but this is the first year they’ve played on the same team. (Their cousin, Tatyana Jones, also plays for Decatur.) Their main difference comes from giving feedback to one another.
Coach Boy is well-seasoned when it comes to sorting out family differences.
“I have to tell (Brittany), ‘It’s not your sister telling you what to do, it’s your point guard,’ ” noting that with the Hamptons, he gets a dose of sibling rivalry that he doesn’t see with the Wallaces.
“Sometimes, we’re on the same page,” O’Neisha said. “We had some differences, like she doesn’t like to listen to me at times. I guess because I’m her sister.”
Brittany doesn’t seem to mind.
“She’ll be bossy sometimes ... when I mess up. I just take it,” said Brittany, admitting her sister is usually right.
Like the Wallaces, the Hamptons enjoy playing for the same team.
“I love playing with my sister,” O’Neisha said. “We grew up playing together, so it’s actually fun.”
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