Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
PINETOPS — Monique and Dominique Hudson became, on Monday evening, the second set of twins and the third sisters combo to be enshrined into the SouthWest Edgecombe High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 14 ceremonies.
All excelled in the sport of girls basketball.
The Hudson twins joined twins Phyllis and Pam Gorham, who were inducted in 2014. The first sisters to be recognized were Alphelia and Bridget Jenkins (Class of 2010).
The Hudson twins formed the induction Class of 2019 along with SouthWest athlete, coach and staunch supporter Joseph Williams. Williams’ situation was also precedent-setting. Hall membership now includes a father-son tandem, with Teddy Williams, Joe’s father, enshrined in 2009.
HUDSONS VS. GORHAMS
Now, the Hudson twins good-naturedly responded when asked which of them was the best player.
But comparing the Hudsons with the Gorhams is a guarded matter. The two sets of twins have in common that they were guards and led the Lady Cougars to state championships.
“When you ask about us and the Gorhams, you are trying to stir something up,” Dominique replied with a laugh. “I don’t know what (the Gorhams) did but, with what they left, they passed a little bit of it on.”
But each expressed gratitude to Pam Gorham, their first coach.
“Pam was the first coach we had when we came here (from Connecticut),” Dominique noted. “Her allowing us to play meant everything.”
Williams frequently saw both sets of twins compte in the capacity of a SouthWest coach and an observer.
“They were good, exceptional,” Williams described the Hudsons. “They reminded me so much of Pam and Phyllis. (The Hudsons) were the kind of players that made you want to come and watch them play.”
However, the Hudsons do agree they created more headaches for head coach Sandra Langley and assistant coach Delphine Mabry than did the Gorham twins.
“I won’t lie about it,” Monique Hudson expressed. “We were tough. I still have a problem with authority. But we had to win; there was a lot of pressure on us to win.”
The Hudsons-led Lady Cougars captured the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A championship in 2005 and came away the 3-A runner-up in 2007.
Their temperaments mellowed upon accepting Langley’s decree: “It’s my way or the highway.” They went on to sensational careers at Gardner-Webb University.
Monique played professional basketball in Poland for a year. She served as an assistant coach at Chowan University for two years and was a Nike EYBL coach for the Carolina Flames the last three years. Her profession is that of a claims adjuster for Horace Mann Insurance.
Dominique spent three years as an assistant coach/recruitig coordinator at Gardner-Webb and was an assistant for one year at North Carolina A&T State University. She played semi-pro basketball for four years.
The twins, age 29, enjoy bantering about their sibling rivalry. Monique, the shooting guard, wound up with 1,760 points during her SouthWest career, while Dominique, the point guard, amassed 1,178. Both were proclaimed either the most valuable player or most outstanding player at the Eastern Regional and state levels.
“Sibling rivalry? Absolutely! Every day.” Dominique declared. “We were constantly going one-on-one and asking who was the best!”
“And I had to show her many a time,” Monique interjected. “People felt I was the best because I scored more points and was more aggressive.”
“It was rough,” Dominique agreed. “She was a scorer. We would go hard and fast — it got intense. Actually, we had to stop playing because it got too intense.”
Their mother, Gwen Hudson, nodded in agreement.
The rivalry festered in middle school — when Monique exploded for 50 points in a game.
“Nobody came to our games,” Dominique noted. “But people heard about that and, pretty soon, the gym was full for our games.”
The twins’ prowess at the middle school and high school levels guided them to a full ride and more fame at Gardner-Webb.
With the Hudsons thriving in the backcourt, Gardner Webb played for a Big South Conference championship on three occasions, won the title in 2011, their senior year, and advanced into the NCAA tournament for the first time.
“We finally beat Liberty,” Dominique said.
Both mention the championship at Gardner-Webb and playing in the NCAA tournament as the highlight of accomplished careers.
“We had to overcome so many mental boundaries,” Dominique contended.
Getting their jerseys retired ranks No. 1 in their SouthWest years.
“Getting my jersey retired — that was surprising,” Monique contended.
Each iterated their appreciation to Langley, Mabry, Pam Gorham and their teammates.
The twins headed separate ways for the first time in their lives upon graduating from Gardner-Webb. Each says being apart was not problematic, and they visited frequently.
Now, they’re back together, residing in Raleigh for less than a year.
“It’s like having a little coach — somebody that holds you accountable,” Monique quipped. “She’s annoying and always on my case.”
The 50-year-old Williams played football at SouthWest as an offensive and defensive lineman from 1984-88. He was coached by Jimmy Tillman, the Cougars’ second head coach, and Tillman gave him his first coaching job.
“Tillman taught me to coach like a fireball — wide open,” Williams commented with a grin.
Williams has been an assistant for seven of SouthWest’s eight head coaches. Only Johnny Wadsworth, the first head coach, did not benefit from his assistance.
He chuckles and assures working with current head coach Jonathan Cobb is a radical change in approach from Tillman. Williams describes Cobb as calm and laid back, adding: “I learned from him that I didn’t have to coach like a fireball.”
Williams revealed he taught for two years until “figuring out how to be a football coach and not have to be a teacher.”
“That’s what I have done the last 29 years,” he said. “I wouldn’t coach anywhere else — especially now. It’s the feeling you get when you help a kid and you see him 20 years later and he tells you ‘thank you.’ “
Williams remembers Tillman predicting that, some day, he (Williams) would be a great football coach.
“I hope I have lived up to his expectations,” Williams appreciatively remarked.