CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Incarnate Word Academy Lady Angels are one of the best basketball teams in all of South Texas.
The Lady Angels are ranked second in the TAPPS 5-A rankings and are on the path to compete for a state title. Leading the charge, is one of the most dynamic duos Coastal Bend sports has to offer.
Sisters Claire and Catherine Thomas are leading the Lady Angels to the top. Claire is a senior and the older of the two while Catherine is a junior. Head coach Malcolm Smith has been the head coach at IWA for 10 years and says the two girls are some of the best players he's coached.
"I've had some really good girls over the years but they are definitely at the top," Smith said.
If you have the opportunity to watch the Lady Angels play, the Thomas sisters are always in sync. Both players know where their teammates will be at the exact right time and know where the other sister will be at all times. It is a relationship that has blossomed on the court thanks to the bond of sisterhood.
"Since I played with her since I was little I know where she is going to be a lot of the time," Catherine said.
Normally the basketball conversation for teammates begins and ends on the court. Practice ends and the players go to their homes and basketball is put on pause until the following; not for Claire and Catherine.
"We do everything together," Claire said.
"On the way home from practices or games we talk about basketball," Catherine said.
The sisters play on the court is special to watch but behind closed doors at practice, there is always friendly competition between the two.
"They really push each other," Smith said. "You know they can guard somebody else and be alright but when they guard each other they play really hard."
A lot of the times bragging rights are on the line. We asked each sister if they taunt each other during drills. Catherine laughed and looked away from the camera to ask Claire if they do taunt each other. Catherine claims it doesn't happen often but Claire says a block at the rim might spark it.
During drills at practice the two sisters paired up during the majority of the drills at the practiced we attended. They went back and forth winning personal battles, they both know that it will help during the season.
"Playing against her makes me better," Claire said.
Claire is slated to graduate this spring. These final few months will mark the last time the two sisters will be teammates.
For Catherine, it will not only be the departure of a teammate, but also of her sister as she sets off for college.
"I'm going to miss her a lot next year," Catherine said. "Just her as a person and her as a basketball player."
In the meantime, the Lady Angels will be gunning for a state title. While the team continues to improve with the Thomas sisters will be leading the development, boosted by the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.