Mount Hebron twins Katie and Jill Rekart have an affinity for the ball and one another, sparking their team's success

Uncommon sense

Basketball

February 07, 2007|By Alejandro Danois | Alejandro Danois,special to the sun

Mount Hebron twins Katie and Jill Rekart have always been in tune with each other, and that is especially true on the basketball court.

The senior guards instinctively know how the other one moves and thinks, possessing a sense for where the other will be before the defense has a chance to figure it out.

There have been numerous instances over their careers when Katie, a point guard, has threaded a seemingly ill-advised pass. But an instant before the ball sails out of bounds or into the hands of a defender, it winds up in the hands of Jill, appearing out of nowhere as she converts the basket.

"When they were babies, I would check on them at night when they were sleeping and find that one had crawled out of her crib and into the other, where they'd both be sleeping together," said their mother, Vickie Rekart.

"One night, when they were toddlers, one was having a nightmare and screaming," she said. "The one who wasn't screaming woke up and told me exactly what her sister was dreaming about."

Thanks in large part to the synergy of the Rekart sisters, the 16-2 Vikings have been rolling this season behind a smothering man-to-man defense and a balanced offense.

"They may be two of the smartest players I've ever coached," Mount Hebron coach Scott Robinson said. "They're two coaches on the floor. Intuitive, great leaders, hard workers and their basketball sense is off the charts."

Katie looks to pass first, has a quick first step and sees the entire floor. She's also adept at shooting the three-point shot when she has the opportunity.

"I'm like the director," Katie said. "My job is recognizing the defense, calling the offense and getting everyone organized and involved. I like to pass, run the plays and set the pace for the offense."

Jill is a shooting guard with exceptional range who also can handle the ball. A first-team All-County performer last year, Jill augments her three-point accuracy with quickness and pinpoint passes.

"I'm more of an outside threat to score," she said. "But I'll drive to the basket, and if the shot's not there, look to pass."

The twins are the product of an athletic household, with parents and older siblings who all played sports. The sound of bouncing basketballs was common in and around the Rekart driveway.

"We've been playing as long as we can remember, and our entire family was active athletically," Katie said. "We still play together as a family today."

Katie and Jill have played hundreds of games in gymnasiums and on athletic fields together over the years. They've always been teammates, competing together on softball, volleyball, basketball and lacrosse teams.

"Because they played so many games together, they have an extra sense for how they can connect when they're competing," Vickie Rekart said.

They are both standouts in lacrosse and have received scholarships to play that sport in college. Katie, an All-County attackman, will attend Duquesne. Jill, an All-County midfielder, is headed to Boston College.

The girls took different paths to success in basketball at Mount Hebron. Jill earned a varsity letter as a freshman, often starting games toward the end of her first season as the team finished 16-8.

Katie made the team as a sophomore but did not earn much playing time for the Vikings, who finished 16-7. Last year, she struggled with her confidence as a reserve, although she still contributed to the team that finished 19-6 and lost in the regional final to eventual state champion River Hill.

This year, Katie's elevated play has been a factor in the Vikings' surging fortunes.

"She's always been such a really good passer, but she's really improved her shot," Jill said. "Katie's brought a different element to the court this year and taken her game to another level because not only can she drive and dish, but now she can step back behind the three-point line and be a threat."

Jill is averaging 9.3 points a game, while Katie averages close to five assists.

Also playing key roles on the balanced team are: junior forward Deanna Dydynski, who is averaging 9.5 points and 6.6 rebounds; senior Jackie Dougherty, a four-year varsity player and the team's defensive force who averages more than five steals and four assists per contest; Jasmine Jarrett, who averages 6.4 points; and sophomore guard Brittany Bowen, who averages nearly eight points coming off the bench.

Mount Hebron is hoping its all-for-one mentality translates into a deep run in the state playoffs.

"We have good team chemistry and are playing really well this year," Jill said. "We're a team in every sense of the word because we have different people with a lot of skills that can go in and do what they specialize in."

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