Reserve Christian foes seeing double

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2001


PHOTO: Can you tell them apart? Trenell Smith is at left, while Trenese Smith is at right. Now, imagine them playing together on a basketball court. (Staff Photo by J. Edmund Barnes) RESERVE – Taken individually, Trenell and Trenese Smith would just be talented players with a great deal of promise for the future. But together, the twin siblings have proven to be a pair of aces on the parquet. Add a solid squad of seniors, a driven coach, and one has a new District 12B powerhouse. Reserve Christian finished 21-10 on the season, with a district record of 4-2. The Smith twins were responsible for a large part of that success. The twins had opposing teams seeing double throughout most of the season. When the two were on the court at the same time, opponents would do double takes. One can imagine the confusion of watching the same person seemingly pass the ball to herself, shoot from the top of the key, and be in position under the net for the rebound, all in the same instant. Trenese averaged fourteen points per game, with three steals and seven rebounds. Trenell was nipping at her heels with an average of fifteen points, two steals, and four rebounds per game. The two act like normal eighth graders off the court; cutting up, goofing off, and doing all the things that teenagers do. Once on the court, though, they are all business. “I brought them here in the seventh grade, and let them play against the varsity. I thought that it would be hard for them to adjust, but they weren’t intimidated at all,” said coach Kevin Branch. “When they’re on the court, these girls are nothing nice. They are professional. They have a future here.” They might be competing to win, but the play itself is fun and friendly. “We’re not in competition with each other,” said Trenese, dispelling the suggestion that she and sister Trenell have a sibling rivalry on the court. In addition to their high school performances, the twins have been selected to the AAU Dominos. Last year, as members of the 13 year old team, the Smith twins traveled first to Memphis to compete in the regionals, and finally to Coco Beach, Florida, to take part in the national tournament. Trenese and Trenell started playing basketball when they were six years old. They played in their backyard where they had a hoop set up, and were taught by their older sister, East St. John High School graduate and standout athlete Tanita Smith. They saw their sister’s success on the court and took note. By practicing everyday their discipline was rewarded when they were selected for the Varsity squad in the eighth grade. Their obvious skills on the court are complemented by their self-effacing attitude and humbleness off the court. They are aware that sacrifice and dedication are what makes a team succeed. “We were able to win because the team tried hard. We played hard. Our seniors were great. We really looked up to them.” The Smith twins have taken the leadership lessons of the seniors and are ready to use what they have learned. Coach Branch intends to keep his team young, and plans to bring seventh-grader Randy Donald onto the varsity squad. With Trenese and Trenell as role models, Coach Branch has high hopes. “They both have a 3.1 GPA. Randy looks up to them.” Along with seniors Mary Venus, Amber Schlessinger, Renee Danielle, and Joanna Ortiz, Coach Branch hopes to make another run at the district title. The Smith twins live with their mother, Olga, in LaPlace.