One player cannot make a team.
But sometimes four sisters can.
The Stefanski quadruplets - Mikila, Monique, Mercina and Morgan - are key members of the Cedar Creek High School girls basketball team.
The Mullica Township seniors helped the Pirates finish 24-5 and win the South Jersey Group II championship and the Cape-Atlantic League United Division.
The four sisters are The Press Female Athletes of the Winter.
"Who has done what we did four years, the way we did it?" Mercina said. "No one has our story. It's so different."
The quadruplets are the product of in-vitro fertilization. They were born April 1, 1995. Their parents - Marian and Michael - tried for 10 years to have children before the sisters were born. The sisters are not identical.
Michael got the girls involved in basketball. It was an easy and inexpensive sport to start.
All he did was hang a hoop, and besides, the father and quadruplets made for a natural five-man team.
Cedar Creek opened in Egg Harbor City in 2010 with just freshmen and sophomores attending. Most of the Pirates sports teams initially played on the junior varsity level.
But the girls basketball team started playing varsity immediately in part because the quadruplets gave the team four quality players.
Mercina is the point guard. She averaged 7.1 points and 4.1 steals this season. Mikila averaged 12.2 points this season and scored 1,314 career points. Morgan averaged 7.2 points and 2.2 steals this season, while Monique came off the bench.
"Our whole lives are basketball," Mikila said. "We come home and all we talk about is basketball, even after the season is over."
Cedar Creek was not expected to win a South Jersey title this season in part because standout Kristine Miller graduated and moved on to Division I Fairfield University.
"A lot of people thought we couldn't do it," Mikila said.
Cedar Creek went 84-27 and won two South Jersey championships and one state title during the quadruplets' four seasons.
"I'm really, really blessed to be a part of some thing so special," Mercina said. "I can't believe it's already been four seasons. We bicker sometimes. But family is everything. Nobody comes in between us."
The success of the girls basketball team boosted Cedar Creek's profile statewide. The Pirates draw big crowds, including a raucous student section nicknamed the "The Creek Crazies."
"It's brought our whole community together," Mikila said. "At our school everyone knows the girls basketball team. Putting Cedar Creek on the map means a lot. I'm so glad I could spent my four years there."
This season ended an era not only for Cedar Creek but also for the quadruplets. They will never again play for the same basketball team. Mikila and Morgan will continue their basketball careers at Division II Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Del. Mercina and Monique have yet to make their college decisions.
"It's so bittersweet," Mercina said. "I will miss them so much on the court."
But the quadruplets say one day a Stefanski will again play for Cedar Creek.
"We'll be passing basketball down to our kids," Mercina said. "We want our kids to go to Cedar Creek and leave a legacy as well."
Contact Michael McGarry: