The Lynchburg-Clay High School girls basketball program has seen unprecedented success in the past few years — but two Lady Mustangs on the team have been making a name for themselves throughout their high school careers. They went to high school together, played the same sports together, and plan to go to college together to do the same thing. It’s no surprise they even look alike — they’re twins.
Hannah and McKayla Binkley are seniors at Lynchburg-Clay. Both have surpassed their 1,000th point in basketball, and have been the recipients of multiple district and league honors and awards. Lynchburg-Clay Athletic Director Mark Faust, coach Whitney Lewis, and the twins’ mom, Stephanie Binkley, all say the girls’ athletics are nothing short of impressive.
McKayla and Hannah think they have it figured out: “We have a twin connection,” Hannah said. “Since we’ve played together so long, we always know what the other is going to do.”
The twins have been playing basketball since second grade, so it’s no surprise they play well on the court.
In addition to the “twin connection” though, both agree that putting the team above oneself, long hours spent in the gym and listening to words of wisdom from coaches are what makes any athlete’s success.
The Binkley twins have played sports year-round for nearly their entire high school career and have built quite a collection of awards in the meantime. According to Faust, in last year’s basketball season, both were all-league champions, McKayla was first team all-district, Hannah was second team all-district, and both were honorable mention All-Ohio.
Last spring, McKayla was a league high jump and 1600-meter relay champion, and both have been the recipients of multiple awards and honors in soccer all throughout high school.
“There have been twins that have played, but not to the level these two are,” he said. “I think what they’re both doing collectively is very impressive. One thing that will get lost in all this though, Hannah’s stats are better in soccer and basketball, but McKayla hasn’t played in as many games as Hannah has.”
Faust said McKayla spent portions of soccer season and basketball season sitting out with a knee injury that prevented her from playing.
“I think, if McKayla had been healthy for the duration of the year, their stats would have been very similar,” he said.
McKayla just recently hit her 1,000th point, while Hannah reached the 1,000 mark last season.
“Hannah is getting really close to moving into third place all-time in our girls school record here,” Faust said. “She’s right around 1,300 points right now. Whitney Lewis is our leading scorer of all time with 1,705 points, and Linda Hatten had 1,634. Kim Roberts is currently in third with 1,313.”
Lewis, who now serves the district as girls basketball coach, said the Binkley twins have been fun to coach.
“They’re really competitive,” she said. “They’re twins, so they’re even more competitive between each other than with other people, so that’s fun to watch. When they’re against each other in practice, it’s really fun to watch. So their competitive natures and athletics do a lot for them.
“Any time they can get in the gym, they’re shooting,” she said. “They’re getting anywhere from 200 to 300 shots after practice — so they put that time in after hours, and that makes them really good players.
“They’re twins, so they look alike, but they both have their own personalities, so it’s fun to be around that,” Whitney said. “They always want to be at the top of what they’re doing.”
Stephanie, the twins’ mom, said the girls’ competitive nature and relentless practice contribute to their success.
“They do compete against one another,” Stephanie said with a laugh. “They like the other one to do well, but they definitely compete a little bit. It’s entertaining.
“It’s all that time they put in at the gym, and all the practice they do,” she said. “They put in a lot of extra time at that gym, and usually after practice they go right back in and keep going. And they don’t give up either. They’re determined to be good players.
“I’m extremely proud,” she said, “and I can say I’m their number-one fan because the whole time they’ve played sports, I’ve probably only ever missed one game. I don’t miss anything. They’re my world.”
Hannah said the two plan to go to college together — and they’re not lacking options.
“We’ve had a lot of offers,” she said. “We haven’t decided where to go yet, but we’re going together.”
McKayla said she’s looking forward to a new chapter.
“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I hate to leave high school because I love our team, but I’m excited to start something new, and meet new people.”
When asked if they had anything to say to young athletes, the twins said teamwork, practice and self-confidence go a long way.
“Don’t give up on yourself,” McKayla said. “Put in the extra work.”
“I would say always put your team before yourself,” said Hannah. “Every day, try to make yourself better… and definitely listen to your coaches.”
“I really have enjoyed coaching them over the past four years,” Lewis said. “It went by pretty fast. They’re tremendous athletes, but they’re good people, too, and they have good hearts. The future looks pretty bright for them.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.