There was a brief time when the Robbins twins, Halley and Julia, were not as close as they are now. That time spanned all of 90 minutes, and it came the day the twins were born.
And it was a day that kind of put Julia on the outs with her mom, Dana. Temporarily, of course.
“I’m the older one,” said Halley, flashing a proud smile.
“I didn’t come until 90 minutes later,” Julia said with an almost apologetic grin. “It was a long time for my mom. I kind of started off on the wrong foot with her.”
But since that day the Robbins twins have been virtually inseparable, both on and off the basketball court. But it’s on the court that has caused a truckload of trouble for opponents of the Horace Mann girls basketball team.
The Robbins girls don’t have many similarities, being twins and all. Julia is a few inches taller and has red hair, while Halley is a brunette and bit smaller in stature.
“My great-grandmother on each side, they both had red hair,” Julia said. “It’s a recessive gene or something.”
But while they may not look all that much alike, the two are twin terrors on the court for a Lions team that is currently 22-1, has already won the school’s first Ivy League title in 21 years, and is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class B.
Despite all their current successes, there is more to them than just basketball.
“We’re very close, ever since we were little,” Julia said. “We’re best friends. But we also have different curricular interests and different classes that we’re interested in, and the clubs that we’re in are different. My favorite subject is history and I also enjoy Spanish and the humanities. I’m also on The Record, which is our weekly paper, so I’m very interested in journalism.”
Halley, the point guard, is more the budding scientist and teacher.
“I’m more interested in science classes, biology, physics, chemistry,” Halley said. “There is a science magazine here and I’m a part of that. And every Saturday I come to school and I tutor kids from (the) local area who are trying to do better in school so they can get to a better high school.
“It’s really helped my growth and confidence as much as I feel I’m giving back to people.”
That confidence has translated to the basketball court as well as the Robbins sisters have been an integral part of a Lions team that is currently riding a 17-game winning streak as they gear up for the New York State Association of Independent Schools tournament and a shot at the Lions first state championship.
The sisters have been playing together since they were in third grade, and it shows as they seem to know each other’s game like the back of their hands. So how good were they at a young age?
“This is just a fun fact, but we were on the same middle school team and we went undefeated for four years, 40-0,” Halley said.
So do you see what Horace Mann opponents are up against here?
“I’m sure we almost take it for granted how well we know each other’s movements,” Julia said. “There is certainly an element of comfort that we have on the court with each other that can only come from years of playing together.”
And now Halley and Julia will try to use their stellar talents to accomplish one more goal this season — winning the program’s first NYSAIS title. They’ll kick off that journey Feb. 21 when they host Poly Prep. The Lions knocked off Poly twice during the regular season, posting a 62-24 victory on the road and a 68-33 win at home.
The semifinals will be held Feb. 23, with the championship game slated for Feb. 25.
However the Lions fare in the tournament, they will still be winners as they have the Robbins twins back for their senior season next year. But after that, there is talk the act might break up.
“We’ll probably end up going to different colleges,” Julia said. “We should probably go to different schools.”
Halley, the elder, agreed.
“It would just be better for our social development,” Halley said, laughing. “I feel like when we came to high school we kind of depended on each other a little too much in terms of making friends. We would just fall back on having a twin. So it will be good to push ourselves to make more friends rather than staying with our sister.”
And winning a NYSAIS championship — or two — before parting ways would give the twins something to talk about with their new friends.