Kalie and Kerri Medlock have been playing basketball since they joined the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) in fifth grade.
Now, the duo is a seemingly unstoppable force on the basketball court, leading the girls’ varsity basketball team to the playoffs this season.
Kerri and Kalie have gone every step of the way together. Whether playing basketball, or soccer or lacrosse, they have always been on the same teams. Beyond simply the connection between players on a team, the Medlock girls have a sisterly link that seems to put them in tune with one another.
“We have like a rhythm,” junior center Kerri said. “We know where each other are at all times; We just click.” The older, quieter Kalie, a senior forward, adds, “We just get each other when we’re on the court together.”
Like with all siblings, the connection doesn’t stop when they leave the court. Girls’ varsity basketball coach Denise Zunno says Kerri and Kalie are attached at the hip. “They might as well be Siamese twins,” she said, adding that she constantly has to separate them at practice because they will immediately go for each other if they are told to pair up. “It’s constant love bubbles between them,” she joked.
The girls say they have always been the closest of their six siblings, and they think this has translated to the field and court. Even when Kalie played on the basketball team with her older sister, they did not have the same bond that she and Kerri have.
An athletically driven family, all six of the Medlock kids participate in sports in the school system, and Zunno says the Medlocks have always supported their kids on and off the court or field.
“They keep them focused academically with a lot of structure at home,” Zunno said. “A lot of love, but a lot of structure.” She also noted the importance of values instilled in the girls, and points to Medlock family rules like not being able to have a cell phone until they are seniors.
Still, Kalie and Kerri are not free from all tension that comes naturally with any family members. “We do yell at each other, but then we just forget about it,” Kalie said during a practice in preparation for the . “Two seconds later, we’re back to being best friends again,” chimes in Kerri.
Regardless of what happens between them in their personal lives, the Medlock sisters never let the competition affect their game. “In practice we’ll be matched up against each other sometimes, and we’ll get rough, but we’re only doing it to better the other,” Kerri said.
The sisters are known around Mineola High for more than just their athletic abilities. “If you go to any faculty member in this building, all they do is talk about those two,” Zunno says, adding that the girls are always smiling.
Even Zunno has a special place in her heart for Kerri and Kalie, saying “if I could pick two girls in this building to be my daughters, I would definitely take the two of them.” She says she always reminds them of this before reprimanding them for being lazy at practice.
Kalie, who will be graduating this year, is planning on attending Nassau Community College to play lacrosse for 2 years. Kerri plans to remain on the basketball, lacrosse and soccer teams without her sister, acknowledging it will be tough without someone on the team with whom she clicks so well.
“I guess I’ll just have to adjust,” she says, in her typical laid-back fashion, adding that if she “concentrates enough” on her game, it won’t affect her.
“I need both of them on the court as long as I can,” Zunno said, adding “they work together, you know, they talk to each other.” But the coach is not worried, as Kerri has emerged as a team leader in the past year and “has just developed into an exceptionally fine basketball player.”
This season Kerri averaged about 14 points per game, while Kalie scored around eight, and both girls had an average of 8-15 rebounds per game.
For now the Medlock sisters, coach Zunno and the rest of the girls’ varsity basketball team are focused on going as far as they can in the playoffs. Although Kerri and Kalie have been playing for years, they admitted they were still a little nervous about the opening round.
“If we win that, it’ll be big ‘cause it’s the farthest we’ve ever gotten,” Kerri said talking about the first playoff game of the season. The team made it to the playoffs last year, but were “wiped out,” by Garden City in the first game.
It’s a simple strategy Kerri and Kalie have this time around: “we’re gonna play our hardest.”