Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ribault Twins Are Leading the Way; 2 Sets of Sisters Put the Trojans in a Semifinal Game vs. Orlando Jones

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ribault Twins Are Leading the Way; 2 Sets of Sisters Put the Trojans in a Semifinal Game vs. Orlando Jones

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Barney

Ribault girls basketball coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick had enough to worry about when there was just one set of fraternal twins in the Trojans' lineup.

So when Ribault added another set of twins to its roster before the start of the 2011 season, it was just one more complexity to the Trojans' game plan. It had the potential to create much more confusion so Seymore-Pennick did what she had to do.

She resorted to name-calling.

"I nicknamed them," said Seymore-Pennick, whose 28-2 Trojans face Orlando Jones (26-4) at 6 tonight in the Class 4A state semifinals in Lakeland.

"When you have twins, it's very typical for people to just call twins, twins. I had to give them nicknames because I can get confused."

Senior guards Whitney and Brittney Neavins, and the 2011 newcomers who sparked the increase of nicknames, sophomores Tierra and Sierra Shepherd, are so close in stature, production, name pronunciation and skill level that Seymore-Pennick had to do something to sort the players out.

The twins are separated from each other by two minutes in time (Whitney and Sierra were each born first) and one inch (at 5-3, Tierra barely edges her sibling). Both of the Neavins are 5-7.

"We kind of look alike, but not much," Brittney said. "It is kind of hard for some people to [pick us apart]."

Ribault is the most storied girls basketball program in state history, with its nine titles and 16 state semifinal appearances both records. But the Trojans have gone an un-Ribault-like nine years since last winning a state championship in 2003. Should the Trojans snap that streak this week, it will likely be because of the exploits of one of the siblings in the Ribault lineup.

On the stat sheet, little distinguishes the players from each other.

Tierra Shepherd is second on the team in scoring (12 PPG) behind Sherranda Reddick (17.7 ppg). Not far behind are Brittney Neavins (8.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Sierra Shepherd and Whitney Neavins (6.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg). On any given night, any of those players are capable of leading the Trojans.

"We're making history, this is the first two sets of twins that started at Ribault and made it [to the semifinals]," said Tierra, whose nickname is "TT. …

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