Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg said a flashback from over a decade ago comes to mind when he watches Christy and Erica McCauley playing basketball.
"I have visions of them in their basement, shooting a Nerf ball at a basket their father had set up," Greenberg said. "Erica was barely old enough to walk, but she could shoot the ball even then."
Now Christy, a 5-foot-6 senior, and Erica, a 5-foot-1 sophomore, are shooting real basketballs for Mount Hebron, and they are two of the main reasons second-ranked Mount Hebron is in a position to win its fifth Class 2A state title in six years.
The Vikings will meet Glenelg in a state semifinal game Friday at 5 p.m. at Catonsville Community College
Through his 20-year association with former neighbor Jim McCauley -- Christy and Erica's father -- Greenberg has known the McCauley sisters since they were born.
"To have known them since birth certainly makes it special," said Greenberg, who is in his 13th season. "Coaching them has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying things I've done in all my years of coaching. It's almost like a father coaching his kids."
Erica, a point guard, leads the team in scoring (15.5), assists (4.9), steals (4.8) and fewest turnovers (2.2). She has showed no signs of the back injury that limited her to 13 games last season.
"In my opinion, Erica is the best point guard in the state," Greenberg said. "Her skills are terrific."
Christy averages 8.0 points per game, but Greenberg said she does the little things that don't show up in the box score and that she provides leadership.
"Christy is a real competitor and a pressure player," Greenberg said. "She often gets overlooked because her contributions are more subtle,but she's real steady."
Both sisters are adept at sinking the three-pointer. Erica is 48-for-109 (44 percent), and Christy has made 36 percent.
Christy also has made 82 percent of her free throws, and she is on a pace to break her school record for free-throw percentage (80 percent), which she set last season.
Is it hard for Christy to play for a team on which her youngster sister is regarded as the team's best player?
"I don't feel any jealousy at all toward her," Christy said. "She works so hard, and she deserves everything she gets. I'm really proud of her."
Said Greenberg: "Christy is in a situation not many kids could handle. It used to be that Erica was known as Christy's sister, but now it's Christy being known as Erica's sister. That's not easy for someone as competitive as Christy."
Greenberg said he has noticed Christy's competitive streak when opposing teams play a defense designed to stop Erica, leaving Christyopen.
"During one game, the coach kept yelling, 'Stay on No. 34 [Erica]; don't let 34 shoot,' " Greenberg said. "Christy had the ball, looked up and nailed a three-pointer."
However, Christy and Erica said they do not compete against each another.
"I always go to her for advice," Erica said. "We get along really well. It's more like a friendship."
Greenberg recalled a talk he had with Christy before last season's Class 2A state championship game against Middletown. Vikings point guard Amy Eberhart had gone down with a season-ending knee injury in the regional playoffs, and Christy had started in her place in a state semifinal against Northeast. Greenberg had decided to start Erica, instead of Christy, against Middletown.
"I said, 'Christy, we're thinking of starting your sister,' " Greenberg said. "And she said: 'That's great. As long as it's my sister, it's no problem.' In the biggest game of the year, she was willing to take a back seat."