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Smith twins have fun on basketball court

By James D. Horne jhorne@paducahsun.com

Jalisa and Joya Smith have never played the trick twins are known for, impersonating each other in class or at social events to fool their friends or family.

But it's because the 6-foot Paducah Tilghman juniors are always together and enjoy spending their time together, and especially when that time comes in between the lines on the basketball court.

"It's a lot fun," said Jalisa, the oldest by three minutes. "We can kind of tell what each other is doing and that really helps. It's good to know I always have support no matter if we win or lose. She can tell when I'm down and she can get me back up, so that's good."

Said Joya, "It's fun and also really good. She knows when I'm down and can help me. After games, she can help me by telling me what I did wrong. So when I don't see it, she sees it."

Tilghman coach Roderick Thomas admitted early on he had trouble telling them apart.

"I used to have problems with that, but I've been around them for quite a while so I know the difference between Jalisa and Joya," he said. "I know their mannerisms and have picked up on other things that help me tell the difference."

He said the twins' names in some ways fit their personalties.

"They both kind of walk around with the same demeanor, but Joya is a little more joyful so that helps me keep them apart," Thomas said. "Jalisa does try to keep a serious look for the most part. She's a little more introverted than Joya is."

Tilghman played in the first game of the inaugural Mustang Madness at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena Thursday night, but lost to Union City, Tenn., in overtime 52-45. The event resumes today with games starting at 5 p.m.

While they wished they could have won the game, the twins both were happy to play in the event's first game. Jalisa scored eight points, while Joya had four.

"It was fun, but it would have been better if we got a win," said Joya, who was averaging 7.6 points and 6.5 rebounds a game heading into Mustang Madness. "But we're just happy to learn and to get out and play."

Said Jalisa, who was averaging 5.0 points and led the team with 8.2 rebounds a game heading into Thursday night. "It was good to come out and play good competition. We tried our best but we let down a little at the end. But it was still nice to be the first to play."

Thomas is simply happy he has them both on the team.

"I love them to death and for what they bring to the team as far as their length, because you can't teach length," he said. "As well their tenacity on the boards, they both can do some of the same things in deflecting and contesting shots. So it's a pleasure for us to have them here together, because you're lucky to have just one 6-footer. When you have two, and especially with the arm length they have, we feel very privileged."

Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow @bigdog_jamesd on Twitter. 

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