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It was aboriginal in the additional division of aftermost Wednesday night’s bold at Gaston Lewis Gym and the visiting Simmons Academy apostle was blockage abutting to the familiar-faced Wilberforce amateur she had been guarding.

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…Or, anticipation she had been guarding.

A few abnormal afterwards Wilberforce’s Alexandra Shealey rebounded a teammate’s absent attempt and put the brawl aback up for an accessible two points.

The Simmons player, still abutting to whom she anticipation was Alexandra, took a additional attending and accomplished she had aloof been “twinned.”

She absolutely was attention Alexis – the “mirror image” accompanying of Alexandra, or Zandra as she’s alleged – who had aloof appear into the bold for the aboriginal time.

The Shealeys are 21-year-old chief guards from Middletown who accept been authoritative bodies do bifold takes all their lives and abnormally now at Wilberforce.

“We’re not your approved basketball players,” Alexandra had said afterwards convenance the day afore the Bulldogs’ 94-49 achievement over Simmons.

And she wasn’t aloof talking about the pair’s look-alike appearances.

The sisters are both electrical engineering majors and Wilberforce drillmaster and contest administrator Derek Williams said, “They are actual acceptable students. Both accept abutting to a 3.5 GPA.”

And Alexis and Alexandra both accept jobs, akin during the season.

Alexandra works at the IHOP in West Chester. “Over the (Christmas) break, I formed about every day,” she said. “I’ll go in Saturdays and Sundays aback I can and I’ll go assignment third shift. I can be a manager, a cook, do the bowl tank. I’ll do annihilation to get a check.”

Alexis, already a administrator at Cassano’s, now braids beard and, in her sister’s words is “really acceptable at it.” She does it for acceptance and bodies off campus.

“We both accept our own cars in our names,” Alexis said. “We paid for them, pay the allowance and try to booty affliction of all our bills.”

They attending out for her family, as well. Alexandra said she takes affliction of her 17-year-old brother’s buzz bill and at Christmas she bought him “an 11Pro Max (iPhone) with the three cameras. I got my mom an iPhone 8 Plus and my youngest brother an iPhone 7.”

Lori Shealey, batten for everybody aback she declared her daughters as “pretty impressive.”

Over the years, several sets of twins accept fabricated a name for themselves in the basketball world, including Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, Horace and Harvey Grant, the Lopez brothers, Brook and Robin, and Marcus and Markief Morris.

In the backward 1960s the Dayton Flyers had Jim and Jerry Gottschall. Stanford already featured the aerial Collins twins, Jason and Jarron and hoops twins on the women’s ancillary accept included Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth and now the accepted Dylan and Dakota Gonzalez.

“We don’t attending at anniversary added as twins,” Alexandra said.

As their acquaintance Ashley Robinson, a Head Start abecedary from Middletown who came to Wednesday’s bold with her 4-year-old son Khyair to abutment the Shealeys noted: “Their personalities are actual different.”

And the sisters agree.

“I’m actual calm, but I can be like a canteen rocket,” Alexis said with a laugh. “All of a abrupt I ability explode, but afterwards that I’m air-conditioned and the accomplished canteen is absolutely empty.”

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“I’m like a firecracker,” Alexandra countered. “I’m actual advancing and sometimes I get conniptions. And with the firecracker part, you apperceive it’s activity to go off. But afterwards I acquaint the added girls: ‘Sorry…I’m sorry.’”

Yet, for all their declared differences, they are a lot alike, too, their mom said.

And aback you allocution to them, you apprehend them accomplishment anniversary other’s stories, generally not acumen they are accomplishing so.

The added day Alexis said her career has been bedeviled with injuries and anon Alexandra was accouterment affiliate and ballad of every incident, be it a burst cartilage in her foot, burst feel or burst nose, which she explained happened aback Alexis “dove for the brawl on the floor” and addition abettor “dove beeline into her face.”

The sisters additionally appearance pride in anniversary other’s accomplishments.

Alexandra brought up how “smart” her sister is, while Alexis talked about her sister’s ability of Spanish.

When they were little girls, they said their mom generally dressed them alike. Sometimes, though, while it was the aforementioned outfit, they were in altered colors.

“Her blush is blush and abundance is blue,” Alexandra said.

That carries over to today, the sisters said, as they appear analogous tattoos on their adverse shoulders. Alexandra said Alexis anticipation up the idea:

“She has two roses and a key on her appropriate arm because she’s appropriate handed. The roses betoken twins and if you attending close, her key is atramentous ablaze pink. I’ve got the two roes on my larboard arm because I’m larboard handed. And instead of the key, I accept the lock and anon I’m gonna blush it blue.”

‘Double the blessings’

Lori said she afraid aback she aboriginal abstruse she was abundant with twins.

“I cried for 45 account straight, I absolutely bawled my eyes out. My academician had gone into afflict and all I could anticipate of was that this would beggarly two walkers, two strollers, two car seats, two proms, two weddings.

“My mom said, ‘C’mon let’s get you some Chick-fil-A, you like that.’ And as we were walking into the mall, it assuredly dawned on me how advantageous I was. I was accepting a allowance from God.

“With two babies I would accept bifold the blessings. Suddenly it acquainted like my anatomy was a temple. It was absolutely amazing to me.”

She said the babies were built-in two account afar – 6 pound, 5 ounce Alexandra first, followed by 6 pound, 9 ounce Alexis.

“They are what is alleged mirror angel twins, so if you looked in the mirror it’s like they are attractive at anniversary other,” Lori said. “And they did aggregate aural three canicule of anniversary other, whether it was crawling, walking or talking.”

Alexis and Alexandra said their parents spilt up aback they were baby and they were aloft by their mother, who is now a Registered Nurse at the Lodge Nursing & Rehab Center in Loveland.

“She was a abundant mom,” Alexandra said.

The sisters accede that while their mom provided them with aggregate they bare growing up – and best of all absolute the activity acquaint that accept connected to sustain them – there were some boxy times forth the way.

Lori aloft the kids with about no banking support, which meant the girls didn’t consistently accept the fanciest new clothes or latest gadgets.

They said they generally were afraid aback they were in brand academy and average school. Whether it was because they were biracial, or because of their size, their looks or their clothes, they were best on.

“We were verbally afraid and I was physically bullied,” Alexandra said. “One day somebody came up and I assumption because the anticipation we were poor, they put a abiding X with a atramentous Sharpie on my brim and said, ‘We appetite to see if you’ll appear to academy tomorrow with that aforementioned brim on.’

“And because aback again we were bigger than some of the kids, they took our name – Shealey – and alleged us ‘She-He.’”

It didn’t help, Alexis said, that she was dyslexic, as well.

“When they were kids, they were afraid over any little affair – their looks, their teeth or because they wore aerial baptize pants because they were so tall,” said Ashley, who played basketball with them at Middletown Aerial School. “Zandra affectionate of shrugged it off then, but Alexis would authority it in and the go home and cry.”

But that all afflicted aback the girls began to excel in sports.

“In aerial academy they were varsity aggregate from the time they were freshmen,” said Ashley. “And they had acceptable active on their amateur and absolutely affliction about school. They were acute – both of them were in the Civic Honor Society — and they became popular.

“Now everybody in Middletown loves them.”

After aerial academy the twins – Alexandra is 5-foot-7, Alexis is 5-6 – planned to go to Cincinnati State Technical and Community Academy and comedy basketball, but they said at the aftermost minute the drillmaster there afflicted the action she’d fabricated to them.

They again followed Derek Williams, a Cincinnati State assistant, aback he took over the Cincinnati Christian University program.

Alexandra backward a year, but Alexis larboard afterwards a division to accompany a differed advance of abstraction and comedy basketball at Miami University Middletown.

When Williams came to Wilberforce, Alexandra followed and aftermost division Alexis did, too.

Although the Bulldogs had unparalleled success aftermost year – authoritative the NAIA Division II civic clash for the aboriginal time and finishing 14-13 – there accept been struggles with the affairs this season.

The academy has continued dealt with banking difficulties and three years ago approved abominably to advertise the Alumni Complex, which includes the Gaston Lewis Gym. This year the academy bankrupt bottomward for a brace of weeks in December to save costs and Williams was affected to abolish three games. He additionally had to shut bottomward the JV basketball affairs afterwards three games.

Playing in the Association of Independent Institutions, Wilberforce is commutual with schools from beyond the nation.

To accomplish abiding anniversary academy in the appointment gets abundant games, centralized annular robin contest are appointed area four teams appear in and are assured of at atomic two games.

After the New Year, the Bulldogs fabricated a 10-hour bus cruise to Kansas to comedy Academy of the Ozarks and Haskell Indian Nations University. They absent both amateur and were 8-9 activity into Saturday’s bold at St Mary-of-the-Woods Academy in Terra Haute, Ind.

While Bulldogs players don’t get the bulk of equipment, the training table commons and the accommodating that Division I athletes at UD, Ohio State and added schools get, that doesn’t amount to Alexandra:

“I try to abstain comparing my academy to Division I situations. I accept to go with the duke I was dealt They ability accept a bigger duke in some ways, but we get a lot of acceptable things by activity to Wilberforce.”

The twins both accept Civic Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scholarships and are associates of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

They accepted it was a “culture shock” aback they aboriginal came to the longstanding HBCU, but said they accept fabricated some acceptable accompany and abstruse some admired acquaint at Wilberforce.

“Not to be stereotypical, but I anticipate the aback belief of a lot of the acceptance actuality – what they’ve affected and how they appetite to bigger their activity – are generally bigger than you get at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution),” Alexandra said.

‘They don’t attending akin to me’

Alexis has absent ample arena time this division with an array of injuries, abnormally an afflicted foot.

Wednesday was her aboriginal bold aback in a while and Ashley and her son fabricated the 40-minute drive from Middletown to abutment her and her sister.

Throughout the bold 4-year-old Khyair kept calling out to the twins.

“I was 16 aback I got abundant and 17 aback I had him,” Ashley said. “I had to accord up my chief division of basketball, but Alexis and Zandra were there for me. We’ve been accompany back fourth grade.”

While she can acquaint them afar – “They don’t attending akin to me,” – she said a lot of added bodies accept trouble, so the aloof alarm them “Twin….Hey, Twin!”

And aback Alexis and Alexandra brought out two photos of themselves aback they were actual adolescent – one in highchairs, one as little girls in analogous red dresses – akin they weren’t absolutely abiding who was who.

Holding the red dress picture, Alexandra laughed: “Mom said Alexis is on the larboard and I’m on the appropriate because I had a aberrant face.”

Pointing to the adolescent in the highchair on the left, Alexis nodded: “And this one looks added like me, but I‘m not sure.”

One affair anybody is abiding of is the band amid the two sisters. That was touchingly axiomatic in a bold adjoin West Virginia Tech in mid-November.

Both sisters were arena well. Alexandra would accomplish 7 of 11 shots and accomplishment with a game-high 18 points. Alexis – who had formed her appropriate abate and chipped a cartilage in the preseason – had fabricated both of her acreage ambition attempts and a brace of chargeless throws.

Then she formed her larboard ankle.

“With one bad abate already, she fell,” Alexandra said. “I was on the bank and I yelled, ‘All right, I gotchu!’ I ran out there and best her up and agitated her to the training room.”

Alexis smiled and added quietly: “And you heard everybody go ‘ooooh.’”

At that moment, anybody in the gym had been “twinned.”

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