Once a Chinese philosopher said, "If you can't stand the thorns, don't play with the roses." Maybe he knew what he was talking about.
Seniors Stephanie and Amy Rose are two of the six seniors on Dexter's Lady Bearcat basketball squad this season, but these two have something just a little bit more special.
"We have been playing together forever," said Stephanie. "I think we began in third grade playing organized basketball and it took off from there."
The Roses are not the only set of twins to come out of the Southeast Missouri area in sports, but these two might be the most effective in nonverbal communication in a long time.
"We really do think a lot alike," said Amy. "Sometimes though, its not just thinking, I know what she is going to do on the court before she even does it."
It's this kind of intuition, and understanding of each other and the game, that has helped the Roses continued a tradition that is slowly building a fan base in the Big D.
In eighth grade this tandem could be found in any gym in the area shooting the lights out. Now they only average 17 points between them - are they no longer a threat?
"Our style of basketball has changed," explained Stephanie. "In junior high we had to carry more weight, now we can all work together and get a great result. We now have teammates that we can lean on and that can come through when we are having an off night. I would not want to play with any other girls or any other coach. I think we (Amy and Stephanie) are both still a threat, but I think that things have changed as well because now we always have five girls on the floor that are a threat."
"We have also changed positions," said Amy. "With Hannah (Burleson) coming in this year I have moved to shooting guard. I have been a point guard pretty much all my life, but now I am learning a new position and a new way of doing things. I am really enjoying it though because I can shoot and not have to handle the ball."
One of the other major team concepts for DHS' Lady Bearcats this season is the goal they have in mind for the year.
"We want to win at least 20 games this season," said Stephanie. "Last year we finished with 17 wins and we have already defeated two of the teams that we lost to last year. We also want to win districts this year, but we know to do that we have to go through Notre Dame."
Dexter finished with a record of 17-7 and was put out in the second round of the district tournament by Fredericktown by a score of 38-30.
The 17-7 record was the best in DHS history, so if the 2002-2003 Lady 'Cats achieve even 18 wins, they will become the new record holders.
Another major factor in this year's success has been their process of "gelling" as Stephanie explains.
"Last year I don't think we were a good uniform team," she said. "We really didn't go after personal goals or anything like that, we just didn't play well together. This year though, we are used to playing with most of these girls. We all understand how each other play and we all know that each one of us excel in different areas.
"The other thing that I think has really helped this team was the play of Rachel Blunt last year. Last year she was a freshman and none of us had really ever played with her, but she came in and would not let anyone stop her. She's proving that she is one of the best players in this area and in a couple of years, when she is a senior, I think people could be talking about her like they did about Mikaela (Scott)."
Dexter State of Mind
"I have really enjoyed living here," said Amy. "I don't think I could have ever chosen a better place to grow up. The people here are all very kind and I feel like we are beginning to get the respect we deserve."
Since the beginning of school the Roses have been Bearcats.
"We have always felt some pride growing up in the red and black," said Stephanie. "We really enjoy this town and I think they are beginning to enjoy watching us play."
Last Monday, Dexter's girls defeated Greenville at home 61-38. At the game, Dexter fans poured in and completely filled the home side of the bottom benches.
"I'm glad to see that the fans are beginning to come back to our game," said Amy. "When we were playing with Mikaela we always had big crowds, but last year I felt like overall we were down. I really hope things are beginning to turn around again."
Scott graduated in May of 2000 and was one of the best girls basketball players ever to come from DHS.
"We loved playing with Mikaela. She was the best player I ever saw and I was fortunate enough to get to play with her," said Amy.
Amy and Stephanie both noted that one of their favorite victories came last year over Sikeston as the Lady Bearcats won 45-43.
"We always play Sikeston extremely tough and they seem to bring their best game as well. It seems to always get a little physical when we play them, and that's how I like it," said Stephanie.
The two also commented on a couple of their most heart-breaking losses.
"I think for me it was the Doniphan game last year," said Stephanie. "We played well, but we still lost by one point."
"I think for me it was our district game against Fredericktown last year," added Amy. "We only scored 30 points the entire game and it ended our season."
Off the Court
For Stephanie, this is simple - she is either in practice, going to church, or sleeping. Things get a bit more complicated for Amy though as she moonlights as a Dexter tennis player.
"I really enjoy playing tennis," noted Amy. "The only problem is that I never leave the courts. Most of my winter I am in a gym and most of my fall I am on the tennis court."
Both of these girls do agree that some of their few off the court activities include: church, work and hanging out with friends.
"We are not only sisters, but we are also really good friends," said Stephanie. "This summer I was gone for a week on vacation and all week I really wanted to get home because I felt like I had left part of myself at home. It was really hard. I guess because we have been together all our lives, we really don't know how it would be to live apart. I still think that one day I am going to get married and Amy is going to move in with me."
When mentioning college, Stephanie said, "I would like to stay some place close. I really don't want to go far off. Also, I'm not sure if I want to play sports in college."
Amy, on the other hand, added, "I would like to go off for a while, but I don't know if I could do that and leave my sis behind."
Roses on Teammates
"There is not much controversy at all between us," said Stephanie. "We have this 'system' going on and it works for us. We've got such a strong bench and we can sub at anytime and bring anyone in, and trust them."
"On and off the court we all get along well," said Amy. "I think we, for the most part all know how each other will react in a given situation and we know everyone else's level and style of play. Other than the ones we've talked about, we really feel fortunate to play with many more great girls."
Katie Dunlap - "We have played with Katie for quite a long time," said Stephanie. "She is really a good player and we really enjoy playing with her."
Amy Krapu - "Amy has done a great job with us this year. She has not had the best of years, off the court," said Amy. "Some things have gone on that she couldn't control, but she has really handled herself very well, nor has she even missed practice because of it."
Lisa Rose - "Our mom is definitely one of our biggest helpers," said Stephanie. "She definitely hasn't had it easy, but she has done the best she could to raise us right. There have been many times that she has put us before herself and I really admire that."
"Although we are quite a bit alike, there are a few differences in us, not counting our physical appearance," explained Amy. "I am quiet, almost shy."
On the other side of the coin, "I'm the vocal leader of the team," said Stephanie. "Coach knows that if I am on the floor I'm going to be telling everyone else what I think and even when I am on the bench I will be standing up yelling and screaming. I've never met a stranger. I normally try to keep everyone's spirits up and keep everyone going."
Amy also spoke about the difference in leadership style. Amy is the captain of the Lady Bearcats and, "Sometimes people think that I should be more vocal, like Steph, but that's not how I do things. That is one of those things about us being two different people. It just doesn't work for me like that."
From Denbow to Miller
Both of the Roses tribute their success to Dexter's long time girls head coach Doyle Denbow.
"Coach Denbow taught us basically everything we know," said Stephanie. "He was a great coach and I think we, and Coach Miller, really learned a lot from the experiences we had with him."
"Coach Denbow really is old school - we wouldn't have known anything if it hadn't been for him," said Amy. "Coach Miller is a very knowledgeable, up-to-date coach. He more knows what is going on now and how we can react to those things."
"I don't think that we could have had it any luckier," said Stephanie. "We have had two great coaches that were somewhat different in style, but both have really taught us a lot."
"We just want to get the second half started right and finish strong," said Amy. "This is a great group of girls and I am looking forward to going through the rest of the season with them."
Dexter will kick off the second half of the season on January 6 in the Delta New Years Classic.