Midland Valley High School girls' basketball head coach Carl Prescott has a secret weapon at his disposal. A duo of bench players that can allegedly read each others' minds.
While the full extent of Whitney and Brittany Campbell's superpowers can't be verified, the twins certainly play well as a tandem, Prescott said.
“Really you have that sibling instinct,” he said of the juniors. “They can hone into what the other is doing, what the other is thinking. Like when Brittany has the ball, she knows the right place to hit her sister.”
Whitney confirmed that the passing lanes seem to open up when she and Brittany are on the court at the same time.
“We can always read each other's mind, where we are, where she is, and I always know where she's passing the ball,” Whitney said.
The 16-year-olds, whose parents are Todd and Dawn Campbell, said they've been playing organized basketball together since they were 9 years old, first at St. John's Methodist Church. Then when they got to middle school at LBC, they began developing what has become their forte: defense.
“It's just been our (greatest) strength,” Brittany said. “And we a had a good middle school coach that taught us a lot of defense.”
That ability on the defensive side of things paid off against Silver Bluff last Friday. Even though the Mustangs lost the game 33-29, the margin had been much worse, with the Bulldogs holding an 18-4 lead at the half.
Prescott put the twins in during the third quarter, and they led a comeback charge that included winning the third quarter by a 10-1 margin. The Mustangs trailed by as little as one score in the game's final frame before eventually losing, but the Campbells were able to give their team life by pressuring the Bulldogs' ball handlers and creating turnovers.
Prescott said that defensive prowess is another result of the siblings' chemistry and mental connection.
“When they're playing on defense, they both come together at the same time to trap,” he said. “They just both bring an added spark off the bench.”
The Campbells are part of a second unit that accounted for 12 of the team's 29 points in the loss, with four of those coming from Whitney and six from Brittany.
Shooting and scoring the basketball is one of Brittany's unique strong points, Prescott said.
“She brings a little extra offense,” Prescott said, adding that Whitney provides a “little more athleticism.”
He also said that having a balanced team between the starters and bench players, as far as the ability to control the game and put points on the board, has created a positive situation but also some challenges in his first year at the helm of the Mustangs' program.
“It's basically, when the team is really at the same level, talent-wise ... it's just finding the right chemistry, the right mix,” he said. “When I sub, when I tell them I'm taking them out, it's not necessarily that they're doing anything wrong. It's just the chemistry that's out there at that specific time.”
He has found natural chemistry with the Campbells, but the twins acknowledge they haven't always seen eye-to-eye. During several years of playing basketball together, both organized and away from teams, the pair has disagreed from time to time. However, they insist physical altercations have never been a part of the equation.
“Not fist fights ... just a little bit of arguments,” they're both quick to point out.
The Mustangs will next take the court Friday at 6 p.m. at home against South Aiken.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
Staff photo by Jeremy Timmerman Brittany Campbell, left, puts pressure on Gracie Gunter at Midland Valley's practice on Wednesday.×
Staff photo by Jeremy Timmerman Midland Valley twin juniors Whitney, left, and Brittany Campbell do some conditioning before Wednesday's practice.×
Staff photo by Jeremy Timmerman Midland Valley twin juniors Brittany, left, and Whitney Campbell strike a pose at Wednesday's basketball practice.×