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Girls basketball: Sisters and rivals square off Saturday

12:00 AM, Jan. 18, 2013 EST

Rashonda, left, and Sadaria McAlister pose for a photo Thursday at mcQueen High School. Rashonda is the head coach at Hug and Sadaria plays for McQueen. / Liz Margerum/RGJ

Two things have been constants for Hug girls basketball coach Rashonda McAlister -- basketball and family.

At 14 years old, she became a mother. Rashonda didn't let that stop her from chasing her dreams. Leaning on the support of her family, she completed high school and college, playing basketball at Feather River College for two years and then at Atlanta Christian.

Now, the Reno High alumnus has a chance to give back as a coach at Hug (2-6) and mentor to her younger sister, Sadaria, a freshman guard who starts for McQueen (3-6).

Rashonda is committed to helping her sister be successful.

"I see a lot of me in her," Rashonda said. "Her being on varsity is a big deal for me."

The sisters have already played each other once this season. They play for a second and final time Saturday.

The two will relay messages as the game approaches. Hug players talk about McQueen and vice versa. As the first game approached, Rashonda tried to "shake her sister up a bit," as their mother put it, with a little trash talk. Sadaria knew a win would silence her sister.

"It was nerve-racking," their mother, Rosalind Coleman, said. "At first, I was thinking I shouldn't go."

Ultimately, Coleman went to the first matchup. Wearing colors from both sides, she alternated between hovering over the Hug bench and over McQueen's. Throughout, she cheered on both daughters and both teams.

McQueen won in a thriller, 50-49. Sadaria didn't get the start, but getting the win over her sister was more important.

"I was nervous, and I didn't play my best because it was against my sister," said Sadaria, who scored two points. "I just really wanted to beat her."

Rashonda described the game as bittersweet. Even though her team lost, she still felt pride in watching her sister play.

"When we're on the court, I don't know who that little girl is," Rashonda said. "But deep down, when she scores, I want to leap out."

Make no mistake, Rashonda is out to even the record.

"I have to do what I have to do as a coach to make sure we win," she said. "Somebody has to win, and it's going to be us."

Saturday's game is at Hug. Sadaria will play more minutes as a starter, and she's ready for the intensity her sister's team will bring to the game.

"She's going to have them a little more fired up because I'm her sister," Sadaria said.

Tipoff is at 11:45 a.m., and the game will be a "pink out," where fans are asked to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.

One fan will be wearing more blue and green than pink as she moves from one side of the crowd to the other.

"I'm so proud of them," Coleman said. "I can't wait."




Boys Basketball

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