Trio of sisters keep Lady Tigers rolling
RED BAY – When the Red Bay varsity girls basketball team takes the floor, it is understandable if its opponents do a double take. Well actually, it's more like a triple take.
The Lady Tigers feature three starters that look an awfully lot alike.
"I've had sisters on the team before, but never three at the same time," said Red Bay coach Donnie Roberts.
Hannah, Kirsten and Whitney Sharp are a big reason the Lady Tigers have gotten off to a strong start and are threatening to win another county title.
Last week the Lady Tigers defeated Belmont – one of the top programs in northern Mississippi – before handing Belgreen its first loss of the season.
Kirsten, a senior, is the oldest and is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
"She's a warrior," Roberts said. "She has no fear when she goes to the basket."
Whitney, a sophomore, is the middle child in the family and also likes to play near the basket even though she is a bit undersized at 5 feet 4 inches tall.
"She plays inside and does a good job," Roberts said.
Hannah, a freshman, is the youngest. What she lacks in experience, she makes up for in speed.
"She is the quickest of the three," Roberts said.
While all of them bring different strengths to the Lady Tigers, they also have a built in advantage. After playing together for so long each sister has learned how the others think on the floor and have built quite a bit of trust between them.
Getting to play together is a special experience, and the Sharps realize it.
"It means a lot to me (to be able to play with my sisters)," Kirsten said. "I don't take it for granted."
On the court, the Sharps share a similarity in that they must be accounted for or each one can beat you. Off the court, differences begin to show.
Ask a question and Kirsten is quick to answer while Hannah is reserved and Whitney falls somewhere in the middle.
All three sisters are multi-sport stars, dominating on the softball diamond as well. Kirsten and Whitney prefer softball while Hannah likes playing hoops better.
One thing they can agree on is that playing for Red Bay is fun and they enjoy winning.
"It felt good," Whitney said after helping the Lady Tigers defeat Belmont. "We haven't beaten them in a while."
Kirsten said the coaching is the key to Red Bay's success.
"We are lucky to be able to play for Red Bay," Kirsten said. "Coach Roberts gets the best out of us."
Of course it takes five players to compete in basketball, and the Sharps feel their teammates are also a big key to the teams' ability to win.
Kirsten said the entire team is like a family and there is no jealousy between any players that could tear the team apart. She also thinks the future looks bright for Red Bay with the way the team is playing now and how it continues to improve every game.
Roberts is also pleased with the team, but there is one attribute the Sharp sisters possess that makes them stand out above many of the players he has coached during his career.
"They're great kids. They play hard and have unbelievable attitudes," Roberts said. "These are three classy kids."