Alex Parlato and Christina Peden are inseparable. Really, the only thing that separates them is a height difference of a foot.
At 6-3, Parlato is the dominant inside presence, hard to keep off the boards, harder to shoot over. At 5-3, Peden is the playmaking point guard, quick to deliver a perfect entry pass, quicker off the dribble.
They are the perfect blend of size and speed, with skill sets that have meshed since day one, when they met at a basketball camp in fourth grade.
"We clicked there," Peden said. "We read each other so well on the court because we are such good friends off the court."
That chemistry between the two was on display Friday night as they led Wantagh to a 45-36 win over visiting Sewanhaka in Nassau Conference A-I.
Parlato filled the stat sheet as she usually does, scoring 20 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and swatting nine shots. She sealed it with a putback and a free throw that gave the Warriors a 42-31 lead with 1:22 remaining.
"Christina knows where I am at all times, and I know where she is," Parlato said. "Having that kind of chemistry between a center and a point guard is a huge benefit."
Peden had nine points and three assists, none prettier than her bounce pass along the baseline on a give-and-go with Darcie Smith early in the third quarter. Smith finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for Wantagh (2-0).
"Alex and Christina are great leaders on and off the court," Smith said. "They are people to look up to, and I have for a while now."
Peden fed Nikki Sliwak for a layup midway through the second quarter to cap a 9-0 run and put the Warriors ahead 19-10.
Destiny Hurt had 14 points and Michelle Niles added eight to lead Sewanhaka (1-1).
After Casey Hayes hit a hook shot along the baseline to pull Sewanhaka within eight points, Laura Mallon drained a three-pointer to put Wantagh up 39-28 with 3:12 to go.
Now that Parlato and Peden are seniors, there is a sense of urgency. The last two seasons, the Warriors have been upset in the quarterfinals, and promising seasons have come to disappointing ends. So this year, the longtime friends made a New Year's resolution.
"To win it all," Peden said. "We have the team to do it. That's something we need to accomplish together."
Because they are inseparable.