Kate Hoffman has been playing alongside her younger sister, Iris, since elementary school. But the dynamic on the court has seemed to change.
Iris had 18 points and four steals and has become the team’s leading scorer as host Whitman defeated Sachem East, 60-33, in non-league girls basketball Friday. Kate, a four-year varsity player, added 14 points in the win.
"I’ve always played with her but this year it’s a little different because I feel like she’s on a higher level," said Kate, a senior. "She’s playing better than she ever has and it’s fun. We play well together. To think from beating up on her when we were little and now she’s just as good as me."
The Hoffman sisters have led Whitman to a 4-0 start after a strong season earlier in the calendar year resulted in a 6-2 record before falling in the Suffolk Division I final.
"It’s definitely not a sibling rivalry but it’s funny sometimes when you get to see them go at each other at practice a little bit," coach Dan Trebour said. "But they have a great relationship on and off the court, so it’s nice seeing them play together and they are both getting better every time we play."
Iris, a sophomore who has been on varsity since the eighth grade, said her Whitman experience has helped her blossom into her leading role.
"I’m definitely more confident because I’m used to playing with these girls now," she said. "I’ve adapted to being one of them."
Whitman used a 13-0 run resulting in a 26-6 lead with 4:46 remaining in the second quarter to catapult the victory.
"It was good to start off with the big lead," Kate said. "It shows us we have the season in our hands and that we can go far."
Brianna Verga and Gianna Conte each added six points as nine Wildcats scored in the win. Ashley Pavan had 12 points for Sachem East (2-2).
Trebour knew he had a talented player in Kate, but he said he felt Iris was ready to take on a larger role entering this season.
"The jump that she’s made in the last year … she’s really emerged I think as one of the better point guards in the county, I think clearly," Trebour said. "She handles, she passes, she scores and her defense has gotten much better."
And Kate loves to see every minute of it.
"It feels good for me because I know I helped her," Kate said. "She’s worked really hard to get here and as a sophomore, that’s insane that she’s starting."