Liberty Players’ Childhood Bond Outlasts the Story of Their Rivalry

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The Liberty’s Tina Charles, left, and Epiphanny Prince were high school opponents.

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Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE, via Getty Images

Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince will take the court Saturday night for the Liberty with their season on the line, in a single-elimination second-round playoff game against the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden.

Charles, a Queens native, and Prince, from Brooklyn, are familiar with playing for high stakes at the Garden. Ten years ago, before they were teammates, Charles and Prince were routinely portrayed as rivals battling for girls’ high school basketball superiority.

“For us, we didn’t even think about it like that,” Prince said. “We hung out most of the time after games.”

Charles added: “I think for our schools, that was a big rivalry. We both just wanted each other to be better.”

Charles and Prince said they had first met when they were in middle school, playing at a tournament in Harlem hosted by the former Knicks guard Rod Strickland. After high school, they continued to be on opposite sides — Charles at…

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