DEKALB — Any coach will tell you, a team is only as good as its managers. Bureau Valley’s managers are twice as nice. In fact, you can call them a double.
Senior twins Tori and Becca Bitting of Buda have been managing the Storm ever since their freshmen year when their cousin, Michael Grieve, was an assistant coach and talked them into it.
“They needed managers, and since he knew us, he volunteered us,” Becca said.
BV assistant coach Craig Johnson said the Storm staff likes to kid Grieve that they are the best thing he brought into the program.
“They are simply fantastic,” Johnson said. “They do virtually everything and anything for us from uniforms, to water, to taping games — whatever you ask them to do, they smile and take care of it. It has been an absolute joy to have them around these last few years and watch them mature into the awesome young ladies they are.”
The girls said it’s been a really fun experience and the boys don’t mind having the girls hang around, because they’ve all been friends for a long time.
“I’m so thankful for it. It’s been my favorite part of high school,” Tori said.
Tori said she likes the bus rides, and Becca especially likes seeing the team win. Seeing them go to state would be awesome, Becca said before Tuesday’s game.
There’s been plenty of twin jokes, because the girls note they say a lot of the same things at the same time.
• Barnett receives all-state recognition: BV senior guard Kale Barnett earned honorable mention honors in the AP 2A all-state team. He received the most votes (32) of any of the honorable mention selections, 11th most overall.
• Blonde ambition: BV assistant coach Jason Smith, who directed the Storm to a Sweet 16 finish a year ago, sported blonde hair Tuesday night. He said he promised BV senior Saige Barnett, twin sister of Storm cager Kale, he would do so if the Storm won the sectional and that she made him shake on it.
• Grandfatherly support: BV coach Jason Marquis has been blessed by having both his grandfathers at his games this year — Darrell Marquis, 90, of Wyanet and Wayne Moore, 92, of Sheffield.
“I’ve got 182 years of grandfathers there supporting me,” Marquis said.
• From one Storm to another: One tie to the Storm’s glory days at the turn of the century was elated to see this year’s team make a deep run in the postseason. John Elliott, point guard to Bureau Valley’s first two state squads in 2000 and 2001, said the Storm did themselves well.
“I feel incredibly proud of this year’s team, especially after all the adversity they faced this year in terms of injuries, missed school days, and last-second losses,” he said.
“The fact they were able to stick together through all that and play their best basketball now is a testament to their character and the job Jason and his staff have done to build resilient young men.”
• Look at stats: A closer examination of the final stats sheets of Tuesday’s game includes some interesting notes:
• Bureau Valley never led in the game while Corliss led by as much as 25 (40-15 third quarter).
• The largest scoring run by the Storm was 10 points (3:03 of third quarter) while the Trojans ran off 17 straight to open the game.
• Corliss torched the nets for 53.2 percent (25-47), shooting 60 percent (6-10) on threes. The Storm shot 37.5 percent (18-48), but just 16.7 behind the arc (37.5).
• BV committed 21 turnovers compared to 17 by Corliss. Of those turnovers, the Storm converted 15 points, the Trojans 22.
• The Trojans also had 36 points in the paint (28 BV), 12 on second-chances (10 BV) and 12 via fastbreaks (9 BV). The Storm bench outscored Corliss’ 13-9, 12 of which coming from German foreign exchange student Noah Simon.