Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hephzibah's Mayo sisters are each other's mirror image

"I push her too be better. At practice I'm always wanting
to guard her to make her better," says  Nicolette
Mayo (left) of her sister, Emani (right).

Hephzibah's Nicolette and Emani Mayo score in loads, like in Friday's Wolfpack Tip-off Challenge game against last season's 4A state runner up Veterans when the twins scored a combined 33 second half points to nearly erase a 21 point deficit before falling 64-58 to the Warhawks.

Emani scored 31 points and Nicolette 18 in an early test for the Lady Rebels, who will face another difficult opponent, North Augusta, in Monday's Lady Spartan Tip-off Classic at 4:00 at Glenn Hills. The twins put enormous pressure on Veterans' defense, making 7 combined threes while also attacking the basket enough to log 16 free throw attempts. Such production will likely be needed Monday if they wish to scare the Lady Yellow Jackets, who are returning the core players from last season's 24-4 squad which reached South Carolina's class 4A lower state championship game.

The Mayo sisters are each other's mirror image

The senior duo averaged a combined 35 points, 4 made threes, and 10 free throw attempts last season while leading Hephzibah to a third place region 3A tournament finish and a trip to the state tournament. Both produce tons of offense and play with enormous confidence.

How that offense is produced is what makes the mirror image phrase and its definition work. Both shoot very well from deep. But Nicolette does that with her left hand, Emani with her right. Both make plays off the dribble. But Emani likes to use the bounce to create space for her jumper while Nicolette likes to weave through traffic and score with floaters, using either hand.

Nicolette sees more differences between her game and her sister's. "She's a way better shooter than me. I'm more vocal and see the floor better. She thinks score first. I get motivated and hyped by defense, and that's what makes my offense come," said the lefty.

A look at the video highlights above will make you question whether anybody, even Emani, who recently signed her national letter of intent with Temple University, is actually a "way better shooter" than the humble Nicolette. I suggested that to her in response, telling her not to sell herself short because she is a great shooter herself. But she quickly shut me down. "Thanks but she is a pure scorer" was her response. 

Fair enough. But Emani, in a separate conversation, backed me up, praising her sister's stroke: "I shoot more than she does, but we are both shooters."

Both sisters agree that Emani looks to score first while Nicolette is intent on distributing the ball and being a vocal leader. "She motivates me and talks to me throughout the whole game," said the Temple signee.

Nicolette logged 125 assists as a junior, a hefty total for a high schooler, compared to 30 for Emani. But "E," Nicolette's on-the-court nickname for her sister, scored 22 points, to Nicolette's 13, per outing. Different and opposite ways to produce offense. Loads of offense. The twins compliment each other perfectly.