The two sisters love to spread the wealth.
They set the tone for a team that thrives when it shares the basketball.
They’re team players. But when one sister assists the other, the high fives sometimes seem a little more emphatic, the smiles just a little bigger.
“At home, we can have our disagreements,” Imani Holloway said of her sister, Nia. “But on the court, we buckle down. We play together. We play smart. And we love when we can assist each other.”
Imani, a senior guard, and Nia, a sophomore point guard, form a dynamic backcourt for a Sterling girls’ basketball team that got off to a 10-0 start.
For the Holloways, basketball runs in the family. Both of their parents played the sport. And their brother, Jamal Holloway, generated more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for the storied Camden basketball team before moving on to a football career at UNLV.
The sisters remember practicing one-on-one with their 6-foot-4 brother when they were younger. It was not always fun, they added with a laugh.
But both described Jamal as one of their role models. They said he inspired them to work harder. And the results have shown on the court.
“When we talk about basketball in our family, my parents will just stress to us that we make good plays,” Imani said. “It’s about keeping our team involved. Score when we can score. But look to make great passes.”
The sisters have been doing just that.
Nia recently hit on the biggest basket of her young career. Off an inbounds pass from Imani, Nia scored a driving, go-ahead layup with two seconds left to give Sterling a win over archrival Haddonfield on Jan. 8. The win put Sterling in the driver’s seat in the Colonial Conference Liberty Division.
It was the first time Sterling had beaten Haddonfield in two seasons, and it was a clear sign that a team of largely returning players had improved since last season.
“I still can’t believe I made that shot. It just feels really good because I worked so hard to be in this position,” said Nia, who averages 5.5 points per game while running the point for the Knights.
Coach Kylie Marchese said she has five starters capable of scoring at any time. Junior forward Latanya Berry has emerged as a star in her own right. She’s averaging a team-high 12 points and helps create serious problems for opposing defenses when the Knights are in a groove with their inside-outside offense.
“One thing we’ve been doing really well is just sharing the ball. Most games we’ve been having double digit assists, up into 15-16-17-assist games. And that just tells me that we’re looking for each other, and we’re doing a good job finding each other,” Marchese said. “They work hard. And they’re just good kids. That’s what really makes the season fun.”
As Nia continues to rise as a sophomore point guard, Imani plays the role of senior leader. It’s a role she takes seriously, and she even played through illness in a recent win over Hammonton.
Imani spent the first two seasons of her high school career at Woodrow Wilson, where she was a star player for the Tigers. She’s now averaging 7.3 points per game and is approaching 1,000 for her career.
Nia said that watching Imani score her 1,000th point is actually one of her goals this year. Imani said one of hers is watching her younger sister continue to develop as player.
“We just love seeing each other succeed,” Nia said.
Marchese described that attitude as perfect for her program. Every time the Knights break a huddle, they put their hands in and yell “family” before taking the court.