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Wolves' Hall sisters excel in different platforms

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

The basketball rolled on the court slowly, an enticing challenge planned by Wesleyan girls coach Jan Azar for the competitive Hall sisters.

Azar thought it would be fun. Let's see which sister can get to it first.

Lauren, a younger and bolder seventh-grader, sprinted out, got to the ball first and dove for the ball. Her ninth-grade sister Erin, more calculated and less daring, didn't risk it and the ball bounced off Lauren and into her hands.

"That's the best story to show how different their personalities are and how competitive they are," Azar said. "That was hilarious because it just summed them both up, Lauren dove for it and Erin ended up with the ball."

The scene also was an omen of where their careers were headed.

Erin stayed true to basketball, helping Wesleyan to back-to-back state championships. Now a senior, her dedication led to a scholarship to Wake Forest.

Lauren, a sophomore, doesn't dive on courts anymore -- she gave up basketball in eighth grade. She prefers the pool, where she won the state diving championship last season as a freshman.

They may not compete head-to-head in sports much anymore, but the intensity learned from their past battles has helped them both reach great heights in their varying sports.

"They're both competitive, that's how they're the same," Azar said. "The whole family is extremely competitive, that's why they're good at what they do. They're different in that Erin is much more quiet than Lauren. That's the same way they kind of are athletically, too. Everything Erin does is very controlled and poised. Lauren just gets out there and gets after it.

"And I know Lauren more as a basketball player than a diver. But in basketball, she got after it. Not that Erin doesn't, but hers is so controlled and quiet. Lauren is more out there and I had her in class. She's much more vocal."

And more of a daredevil.

Erin and Lauren tried a variety of sports as youngsters, from softball to swimming to basketball to tennis. They even gave ballet a shot -- "That was not for us," Erin said.

Each did well in whatever sport was up next, though one generally was a little better than the other, depending on the sport.

"Erin was always a really good tennis player," Lauren said. "My goal was to hit it over the fence. Tennis was never my sport."

In time, the younger Hall found her niche. Always fearless, she excelled with the flips, twists and heights of diving, the ones that often scare other youngsters away.

Like her older sister Erin, who once won a county diving championship but quit the sport because she refused to dive backward.

"Erin was always scared of doing flips and things like that," Lauren said. "I was never really scared of that."

The increased focus on diving, including trips five days a week to practice at Georgia Tech, forced Lauren to give up basketball. But she still juggles multiple sports, competing on Wesleyan's volleyball and track and field teams.

Erin isn't just a basketball player, either. She is a star softball player, hitting .313 with 15 RBIs last fall as a senior, and also was on the track and field team.

"Our parents put us in every sport they could think of, every sport we were interested in, and we found out what we were better at," Erin said. "Lauren was just playing basketball, I don't know, just to wear the uniform I think. I just loved basketball. We're very competitive with each other, so we pretty much did what each other did until we found the sport we were better at."

Their sports of emphasis have given both decorated careers at Wesleyan.

Erin averaged 14.4 points last season, winning her second straight state championship with the Wolves basketball team. She averages 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists this season for a Wesleyan team that is considered a heavy favorite to three-peat in Class A.

Lauren won the state diving championship last year as a Wesleyan freshman, giving her three more seasons to win state. A painful herniated disc in her back has kept her out this season, but she hopes to return in time to defend her title.

"Once I start diving again, I'm really going to work hard," Lauren said. "I feel like I could win it this year but there are a lot of really good girls out there. ... It's not going to be an easy competition. The back (injury) kind of hurt me, but I feel if I really work hard, I can do it."

Erin will be in the crowd at next month's state meet, rooting her sister to the title. Likewise, Lauren will be one of the biggest supporters as the Wesleyan basketball team aims for another title.

They hope to add even more high school memories to a relationship that has gotten much closer in recent years. They no longer fight like they did when they were younger, they're now best friends.

"We're very, very close," Erin said. "We tell each other everything. We got into each other's rooms for advice or if something's wrong we talk about it. Our must fun is just hanging out with her in the car on the way to school. We can just crank up the music and sing and dance. People drive by and look at us weird. We're going to miss each other next year because we're so close."

Erin's departure to play basketball at Wake Forest will split up the two, making these final few months of the high school year more special.

And more emotional.

"I tell her everything," Lauren said. "She tells me everything. We have a great bond. Everyone was talking about how the seniors only have a little time left in high school and I had a little breakdown. I realized how short my time is with her. I'm going to miss her a lot next year."