Almost every time Patuxent junior Amanda Robinson's name comes up in conversation, so does that of senior Charese Baldwin. They are volleyball teammates, basketball teammates and best friends. Some people call the two 6-foot-2 girls the "Dynamic Duo." Others refer to them as the "Twin Towers."
"We're best friends, so we're always together no matter what," Baldwin said Tuesday as the Panthers prepared for the Maryland 3A basketball semifinals. "When people see one of us they usually see the other."
Robinson said the nicknames somehow make their friendship stronger.
"I think it's really cool," she said. "I don't mind it at all."
That acceptance only applies to joint nicknames, however. Robinson is much quicker to blush at the one her teammates call her at practice and in the locker room: Crybaby.
"Charese told you that? Oh, I'm going to kill her!" Robinson said.
Baldwin only laughed. The nickname is meant in fun, a lighthearted jab at Robinson's sensitive and easily excitable side.
"I get really upset easily," Robinson explained, her face still red. "And I'll start jumping up and down and shaking my fists. I do it on the court if there's a call I don't like or something, and they all just laugh at me. I'm just a sensitive person."
Robinson also is quickly emerging as a star. She has matched Baldwin's production on the basketball court this season, recording double-doubles in scoring and rebounding in 22 of the Panthers' 25 games this season. Baldwin has accomplished the same feat 20 times this year.
"Amanda is the first person I see coming down the court," senior guard Meghan Robinson said. "I can see Charese, of course, that's no problem, but Amanda plays up higher so she's the first one I look to dish it off to."
Robinson, who is more of an outside player than Baldwin, averages 15.5 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. Baldwin, a bigger inside presence, averages 17.4 points and 14.8 rebounds and 5 blocks.
"Amanda is still a year behind Charese, too," Patuxent Coach John McGuffin said. "I can tell you it's just been tremendous to see her growth from her freshman year to now, and I'm already looking forward to her being the leader of this team next year, too. But we've got some more work to do this year before we get there."
The work resumes tonight against Milford Mill, a team making a record sixth consecutive appearance in the state semifinals. The Millers have won each of their previous five semifinal games before losing in the finals, but they aren't used to facing a team of Patuxent's stature.
"Lord, the first thing I saw was their height," Milford Mill Coach Pam Wright said. "It's not going to be an easy matchup for us at all."
Wright noted that Robinson and Baldwin not only are tall, they also are strong ball-handlers who run the floor well.
"They're going to think you're slow, and that's going to be to our advantage," McGuffin told the girls during Monday's practice. "They're not going to have seen big girls who can run and dribble like the two of you can."
Just like that, they were back to being a pair, the Panthers' own two-for-one special.
It isn't about to stop, either. Robinson said she is going to join Baldwin on the Panthers' outdoor track team this spring in order to spend one last sports season with her best friend.
"We've come this far together," she said. "I couldn't imagine not seeing her every day."