COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Colerain girls volleyball coach Lindsey Dinkelacker used to have one of the McNally sisters wear a headband during practice because she couldn't tell the twins apart.
That was a few years ago when Dinkelacker was the junior varsity coach and Abbey and Kiley McNally were freshmen.
"I think one time this year I called Abbey 'Kiley' or Kiley 'Abbey' and they were like, 'Whoa, you haven't done that in so long,'" Dinkelacker said with a smile. "I'm like, 'Yeah, it just slipped.'"
There is no confusion as to why Abbey and Kiley have helped to lead the Colerain girls volleyball and basketball programs this school year.
"They're so pleasant to coach," Colerain girls basketball coach Ernie Hayes said. "They are a coach's dream."
The 16-year-old McNally sisters have been on the same team in basketball, soccer, volleyball or dance going back to the first grade.
The juniors play volleyball and basketball throughout the year, whether it's high school or club competition. They enjoy every minute.
"I think that's my favorite part of it all because we've been together at the hip for our whole lives, but I think we have another language when we play sports together," Abbey said.
"Especially in basketball because we go to school together, do all the schoolwork together, have the same friend group. But when it comes to basketball it's just me and her. We have a connection."
Abbey, who is listed at 5 feet 11, led the Greater Miami Conference in rebounding last season (10.4 rpg.). She tied for the conference lead as a freshman.
Last week, she had 20 points, seven rebounds, four steals, two blocks and an assist in Colerain's 49-40 win over visiting Alter.
"A lot of it is her effort," Hayes said. "She outworks just about anyone on the floor -- if it's in practice or if it's in a game. It's very few people that we come across that outwork her. She has the ability and the knack just to go for the basketball."
Kiley, who is 5 feet 10, is a guard who is on an upward trajectory on both ends of the floor, Hayes said.
"She can handle the ball," Hayes said. "She can shoot the three. She can take you off the bounce to the basket and score. She can hit the mid-range jump shot, as well. She's got all three weapons from that standpoint."
Colerain continues to progress as a program after improving to nine wins last season. Colerain was winless just two seasons before that.
Hayes said the sisters' basketball IQ and desire to improve each time on the court is significant.
"They come from a good family that pushes them to improve and be better and to be the best that they can be," Hayes said. "And I think that both of them strive to do that in everything they do -- whether it's volleyball or if it's basketball or if it's something else that they may be doing."
The sisters were among the leaders this past fall in helping lead the Colerain girls volleyball program to a 15-7 record. Abbey played middle hitter while Kiley was an outside hitter.
"That was probably the best season of volleyball that I've ever experienced," said Abbey, who was a first-team all-Greater Miami Conference selection.
Colerain matched its most wins in the volleyball program (15) since 2007.
"They have been so fun to coach and so great for the Colerain volleyball program that they're a huge reason in the success the program has had the past couple years," Dinkelacker said.
Hayes and Dinkelacker smile when they discuss how competitive the sisters can be in a practice.
Whether it's sports or board games like Yahtzee or Uno with their family, Abbey and Kiley love the opportunity to compete.
The sisters have an additional family inspiration this winter. They have dedicated the season to their late grandfather,John W. McNally Jr., who died in March. He is never far from their minds each time they take the floor.
"We're both dedicating this season to my grandpa," Kiley said. "We're working for him and trying to make him proud. He's been here watching every single game since forever. And we recently lost him in March. We're just dedicating everything we do from here on out to him, so that's our goal is to play for him."