Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.

Childhood pals, teammates now root for each other in opposite jerseys

By: Mike Moore | Troy Times | Published February 3, 2011

Troy’s Karin Moss and Athens’ Russell have been teammates since their early childhood. Now the two friends get to enjoy squaring off against one another twice a year as high school rivals.

Troy’s Karin Moss and Athens’ Russell have been teammates since their early childhood. Now the two friends get to enjoy squaring off against one another twice a year as high school rivals.

Photo by Andrew Potter


TROY — As life-long friends, they can’t help but root for one another, but as competitors they revel in the opportunity to best each other.

Since they were 8 years old, Karin Moss and Sinclair Russell have shared a love for basketball, and more often than not, they did so on the same team.

It started with the Pontiac Bears, an AAU team, and continued from one season to the next. Eventually, they teamed up at Smith Middle School in Troy, forging a deadly one-two punch as seventh- and eighth-graders.

“I think we always knew we were pretty good,” Moss said last week about growing up and playing with Russell. “We played well together. There were times the competition couldn’t handle us.”

Then came high school and the split: Russell was off to Troy Athens, and Moss made her way to Troy.

While they still enjoy time playing together during the high school offseason, their most competitive moments come facing off as bitter rivals.

Or at least as bitter as friends can be.

“It’s a ton of fun; we both love it,” said Russell, a junior forward. “We can’t be friends, so to speak, on the court, but we definitely push one another. It makes for great competition.”

They’ve faced one another once this season, and Moss, a junior guard, got the better of the matchup in a 46-30 victory. Russell and the Red Hawks (10-3 overall and 8-2 Oakland Activities Association Red Division at press time) have their chance at revenge at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Troy (8-4 and 7-3 OAA Red).

In communities like Troy, where so many grow up together before heading in opposite directions for high school, friend-on-friend rivalry isn’t all that uncommon.

The difference in the Russell-Moss story, though, is the talent and leadership each brings to her respective team.

Russell is the Red Hawks leading scorer with 16.5 points per game, while pulling down 10.6 rebounds a game.

She also averages 4.7 blocks and two steals per contest, and her 51 offensive rebounds are five times as many as any other Red Hawk.

“Quite a bit of our success this season is predicated on how well she’s played,” Athens coach Lindsay Noble said. “One of her biggest assets is her quickness. She has a way of reading the defender so well and can get great separation with that first move.

“At the same time, she reads the ball so well. Her sense of where it’s going to be coming off the rim is incredible.”

Moss’ numbers for Troy weren’t too shabby either with 15 points, 4.2 assists, three steals and nearly 31 minutes per game.

“I give her so much credit because of the hard work she constantly puts in to be a better player,” Troy coach Dennis Koch said. “Her will to win is incredible, and her leadership is something I love.”

Both girls admitted how good the rivalry has been this year because of how strong each team has played.

And while they’ve grown up working as a tandem, life in opposing jerseys has been just as fun.

“There’s no way around the fact that we’re rivals. I mean, that’s Troy and Athens,” Moss said with a laugh. “But at the same time, we’re like family.

“When she does something good in a game, I give her that nod. When I do something good, she better give me my props, too.”