Four of the county’s girls basketball teams take courts with teammates sharing particular bonds
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
December 25, 2013 11:37 PM | 2344 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For Cherokee County’s six girls basketball programs, there’s an underlying theme — twins. Four teams sport a set of twins who share a deep bond, not only as sisters, but as teammates on the court.
<BR>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
For Cherokee County’s six girls basketball programs, there’s an underlying theme — twins. Four teams sport a set of twins who share a deep bond, not only as sisters, but as teammates on the court.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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They’ve played on the same team since they were in elementary school and have an uncanny way of finding one another on the court.

When they aren’t at basketball practice, they challenge each other at a hoop in the family driveway. They spend almost all of their time together and finish each other’s sentences at an alarming rate.

They’re twins.

While the story of girls attempting to make the most of their high school careers, and find a way to carry the bond over to college following graduation may be unique, it isn’t.

At least, it isn’t in Cherokee County.

Of the six high schools in the county, four sport a set of twins on their girls basketball rosters — Creekview’s Dee and Danyelle Blankenship, Etowah’s Courtney and Cameron Shockey, Sequoyah’s Kelley and Lauren Hartman and Woodstock’s Chandler and Ashton Sutton.

The Suttons are actually two-thirds of a set of triplets. The third sister, Brennan, started out in cheerleading when the other two took up basketball in kindergarten, and is now team manager for the Lady Wolverines.

While the Blankenships are seniors, the Hartmans are sophomores, and the Shockeys and Suttons are freshmen, so coaches and fans should get used to seeing their names on the roster the next 3½ seasons.

Sequoyah coach Derrick DeWitt is proud to say he made it up until last week before mixing up the Hartman sisters.

“They don’t even look that much alike,” DeWitt said. “But yeah, I got the name mixed up once.”

None of the sets of twins are identical, though the Shockeys look the most alike, with Courtney standing an inch taller and favoring her left hand, as opposed to Cameron and her right hand.

Still, there’s no denying the connection they share with their twin on or off the court.

“It’s always been our dream to play (varsity) together,” Courtney Shockey said. “I always know that she has my back.”

The same goes for the Suttons.

“Plus, we like know where each other are on the court,” Chandler Sutton said.

The Blankenships, seniors who have a couple years of varsity experience together, agree.

“We kind of know where each other are on the court,” Danyelle said.

“It just clicks really well,” Dee finished. “With her being a guard and me at the post, it kind of helps.”

Not only do the girls believe their sisterly bonds help them play more as a unit in games, they say it’s what pushes them to practice harder.

“We push each other harder,” Lauren Hartman said, before Kelley added, “And it’s easier because we are sisters, because we don’t want to fight with each other.”

Chandler Sutton said the basketball court is the only place that she can tell her sister, Ashton, what to do and get away with it.

The Blankenships said they also push each other.

“When we are guarding each other (in practice), it can get a little rough,” Danyelle admitted. “I would say we push each other hard. But then there are just some things that we do better than I would with another post player because I know what she does.”

The girls are eager to say that they are not the same player as their sister.

“We are both good at our own thing,” Chandler Sutton said. “I’m the point guard and (Ashton) is a shooting guard.”

When it comes down to playing as a part of a team, each girl said that she favors her twin a bit more on the court. They trust each other to make shots and execute plays.

“We know each other better,” Cameron Shockey said.

And when one of the girls get hurt, it can affect the other. In a game against Milton two weeks ago, Cameron Shockey was shoved to the ground during a play.

“When she got a concussion, I cried, too,” Courtney said. “I kind of took it personally.”

Each set of twins would like to player together into college, although the Hartmans and Shockeys may have more options as dual-sport athletes.

The Hartmans play volleyball and basketball, as did their older sister, Maggie, who’s now playing the latter at Harvard.

“We are undecided on what sport we want to play either volleyball or basketball,” Lauren said.

“We aren’t sure which we like better,” Kelley said.

The Shockeys feel similarly.

“If you ask me (which I like better) during basketball season, I will say basketball,” Courtney said. “If you asked me during volleyball season, I will say volleyball.”

The Blankenships see themselves playing at the same college — not only as a way to continue the partnership, but as a way to make things easier for their parents.

“If we do play basketball, my mom would like it better if she could just go to the same place to see us play,” Danyelle said.

Still, wherever their basketball paths take them, the twins probably won’t be alone.

“It’s that twin connection,” the Hartmans said together.
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