At Bandys, the girls' basketball team is a family affair.
From the head coach to the assistant coach to the junior varsity coach and many of the players, almost every part of the team involves family. It started when head coach Beth Queen began coaching AAU basketball with her players when they were age 9-10.
"I guess there is more comfort because we have coached them from such a young age," Queen said. "We know them really well, and we know what to expect. Sometimes we know what to expect before the kid does it on the court."
At the heart of this family team are the Story sisters – Jesse and Madi. Jesse is a junior, and Madi is a freshman. The two led the Bandys girls' basketball team to an early 9-2 record overall.
While they were growing up, the Story sisters figured they would end up on the hardwood together one day.
"Our parents talked about it a lot," Jesse said. "They told us when we got older that we would have to learn to play together. She [Madi] is more of the driver, and I am more of a shooter. They always talked about us feeding one another the ball."
Jesse and Madi's parents – Mark and Mitzy – are Bandy graduates. Mitzy is even a former Trojan player. She and Queen played at not only Bandys, but at Appalachian State as well. Mark coaches the junior varsity team and Mitzy is an assistant to the Bandys varsity girls' program.
Having family stability helped the sisters succeed on the court.
"Mom gives us advice," Jesse said. "She will tell us to use our legs and tells us how to fix it. She is really calm about it."
That advice proved to be beneficial for young Madi. In her first game as a member of the Trojans, she had a breakout performance against St. Stephens.
"Madi came out at our first game against St. Stephens," Queen said. "I can't remember how many she had that night, but I think it was about 30 or 32 points in her first game out. It goes back to playing with these kids when she was younger. It all goes back to a comfort level. She is used to them. These kids have all played together."
While they both strive to keep the team winning, a friendly and healthy competition developed between the sisters on the court. Each Story sister scored exactly 28 points in the Trojans opening game of the Peoples Bank tournament during the holiday.
"I always beat her," Madi said jokingly.
"There is joke going around because she has been scoring more than me in most of the games," Jesse said. "Everyone asks me how my little sister is outscoring me. I tell them I taught her everything she knows. I can take credit for both her points and mine."
At the tournament, the Story sisters and Queen's daughter, Chelsea, were named to the All-Tournament team. Jesse was named the Most Valuable Player.
Through this first season together, both players acknowledged they learned something from their sibling despite the gap in age.
"By example, she is really aggressive," Jesse said. "I need to do more of that. If Madi is going for the rebound, I need to be going for it too."
"She tells me don't be nervous," Madi said. "I'm always nervous before games. I am glad she is on my team because I don't think I'd be doing as well."