JEFFERSON CITY - A whistle blew as Jefferson City senior Sarah Linthacum banked in a shot from the middle of the paint. Instantly, she was swarmed in a hug and shoved hard by her sister and sophomore teammate, Hannah Linthacum.
It's the type of joy, companionship and tough love you see all the time from the two sisters on the court.
"I love playing with my best friend," said Hannah Linthacum.
"She's honestly my biggest fan and she's always just so encouraging and she's such a good hype man," said Sarah Linthacum. "I think that we can just play with each other and bounce off of each other and have that connection and she's just so fun to play with. She's a great teammate."
The two sisters have helped lead the Jefferson City Lady Jays to a 20-2 record and a district championship.
Between Sarah, Hannah and their older sister Micah Linthacum -- now a redshirt freshman on the Mizzou women's basketball team -- the Jefferson City roster has featured at least one Linthacum sister each of the past six seasons. The Jays have won 20 or more games every year in that span.
"We've all pretty much been best friends our entire lives, we all have really close relationships," said Sarah Linthacum. "It's just been really awesome to play with them because we have that special connection that most people don't get growing up together."
Sarah Linthacum is now a senior, committed to join her sister next season and play for Mizzou.
"I'm so excited. It's crazy to me that that's upcoming. I feel like she's always going to be that little freshman sister I was always playing with," said Micah Linthacum.
"I'm excited to see what they're going to do in the future because I know they're going to do great things," said Hannah Linthacum.
While the sisters' performance on the court speaks for itself, their spirit and dynamic is also evident throughout the whole program.
When senior teammate Hannah Nilges scored her 1,000th career point in Thursday's district championship win over Capital City, it was Hannah and Sarah Linthacum screaming and picking her up off the court when she came out of the game.
"They're just fantastic kids. They're positive people, they're very good students, they're role models for their peers," said Jefferson City head coach Kay Foster. "They're servants, they have humility, they don't have egos. I mean I could go on and on, they're just wonderful kids."
With a district championship in hand, the Linthacum sisters have hopes of helping lead Jefferson City to a deep tournament run.
"The goal is to go all the way but we just want to take it one game at a time and just focus on the next one ahead. And if we can do that enough then hopefully that will take us all the way," said Sarah Linthacum.
If they succeed, it will be the first girls basketball state championship in Jefferson City history. Hannah Linthacum said playing with this team and for the Jefferson City community makes any on-court success extra special.
"I just love the atmosphere and the community. There's always so much encouragement. It's like we're all together as one. Our team really is just a family."