Most folks watching the Evangel Lady Eagles play basketball for the first time do a double-take when they glance at the court.
The Doublemint twins of Madison and Meagan Laboy are like two mints in one.
“I can’t tell them apart,” claimed Evangel photographer Claude Price at Tuesday’s game. Price is far from alone. Fortunately, during basketball games the daughters of Shona and Vince Laboy wear numbered uniforms, making the job of deciphering which Lady Eagle is which a bit easier.
Their athletic ability and no-nonsense personality has helped Evangel become the current No. 3 team in the LHSAA Division I Power Ratings with a 16-5 overall record (3-0 in District 5A). Madison is the scorer, Meagan the ball handler. Megan is the cook, Madison is the eater of all things cooked by Meagan.
“Meagan is like my backbone. We’re hardly ever apart,” Madison said. “I don’t know how it feels to be alone. We share a room, a car, life, but not toothbrushes.”
Both struggled to come into the world in a healthy state, according to their mother. The twins were born about four weeks premature with heart murmurs.
“There were about 30 doctors and nurses in the room when they were born at WK Pierremont because we had to have two of everyone,” Shona Laboy said. “I felt like I was on an episode of ER or something.”
Although mom had to remain in the hospital on bed rest for about six weeks recovering from the experience, the girls had few problems. That was until Madison was about 6 years old.
“She had a hole in her heart and had to have open heart surgery due to Mitral Valve Prolapse,” Shona said. “That interrupted her softball playing in Bossier Rec for a short time.”
But she came back strong.
“Maddie was ready to go a couple of weeks after the surgery, but Meagan told us she didn’t think her sister was ready – and they had been together so long, we knew she knew her sister better than we did. So, we waited another week until Meagan said she believed Maddie was ready.”
Both girls are on Student Council and work in the office at Evangel, something only the best students are allowed to do. They also plan to return to the softball field this spring.
The Laboys, which include older brother Caleb, a senior wide receiver for the Division I state champion Evangel football team, moved over from the south Bossier school system about five years ago.
Shona Laboy said she’s heard people talk about recruiting of athletes, like her children, from parents and she finds it frustrating.
“Parents decide where it’s best for their children to attend school and we decided that Evangel was the right place for us,” Shona Laboy said. “We wanted our children to know that Jesus is their Lord and Savior in preparing them for their next stage in life. That’s why we’re here.”
Although Caleb rules the roost when it comes to earning state championship rings, he rarely wins any votes around the Laboy household.
“Caleb is older than us by one year and one week, but when we’re going out to eat (their favorite is the Zaxby’s boneless wings and things), Caleb has to go where we want to go,” Madison said.
Although all three teenagers argue, as teenagers are wont to do, it’s usually about crazy stuff and it’s usually the girls who win. The arguing may be over soon with Caleb due to graduate while hoping to pursue an engineering degree hopefully on football scholarship. He has found a way to differentiate between his sisters.
“I have to pay attention to their face because one of’ems cheeks is bigger than the other one,” Caleb said. “I just want to tell’em I I love’em, get their work done, and enjoy basketball because it will be over before you know it.”
Meanwhile, Madison Laboy still must make occasional trips to the children’s hospital in Little Rock to have her heart checked.
“It hasn’t really affected her athletically,” Shona said. “We just have to watch her to make sure she doesn’t get too tired. That’s a fighting kid.”
Evangel coach Meoka Young said the Laboys are “sweet girls who do anything I ask of them.”
“They always go back and correct any mistakes they make,” Young said. “I used to get them confused, but I have figured them out. Madison is more outgoing than Meagan. Meagan is quiet and laid back.”
And which one is the oldest?
“Me by less than a minute,” Madison said.