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Sibling subs help Eagles soar

Contrasting styles make Campbell sisters a perfect fit for Del Oro
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — When Lucy Campbell took an assistant coaching role with her younger sister Madeline’s AAU basketball team two years ago, she knew they’d play on the same court together at Del Oro High. “Her team was younger, but I looked up to them because they were so skilled,” Lucy said. “I always wanted to play with her. I always wanted to be there to help her out and grow so we could get to this moment today.” The sisters are members of a deep Del Oro bench that has been instrumental in assembling another dominant season. “Our success is based on team, and they do everything they can to fit into that,” said head coach Mike Takayama, who watched 12 different Golden Eagles score in a 66-20 rout of Roseville Tuesday night. Lucy, a 5-8 guard and one of three senior captains, is a veteran presence on offense and defense. “She’s always been a very cerebral player,” Takayama said. “She understands the game. She goes in with the second group and a lot of times that group is a very young group and they’re just like wild stallions. They just want to get out and run and they do a really good job of that, but Lucy is that stabilizing factor.” Madeline, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, has thrived in her first varsity season. Her 8.8 points per game are second only to Katie Pulliam’s 10.2. “She’s come in and just been a dynamic scorer for us,” Takayama said of Madeline. “She gives us a big perimeter game, which allows Courtney (Nolen) and our inside game to play a lot better.” The Campbell sisters’ opposing styles have emerged over years of basketball, from playground shootarounds to recreation league games. “We’ve always played against each other at home,” Madeline said. “We’d always watch each other play in games. Once we started to play together it was pretty difficult because we have such different styles. After a while, once we got used to each other, it was really cool. It’s probably the most memorable thing I’ll have from my childhood.” Adapting to her older sister’s constant coaching was a major challenge. “It was so hard at first getting used to that aspect, but it’s really a good thing,” Madeline said. “We’re really good teammates and we’re better sisters for it. I have fun with her all day, everyday, playing basketball.” Lucy, who now head coaches her own AAU teams, is happy to share her hoops wisdom with her younger sister. “I always try to give her a little advice here and there, which I don’t think she likes,” the senior said with a laugh. “We know what motivates each other, what we play for, so that helps a lot. It’s definitely competitive, but we’re doing it to make each other better and I think without that spirit we wouldn’t be progressing.” Few teams on area hardwood have progressed like the Eagles this season. They allowed the fewest points by an opponent in Tuesday’s blowout to improve to 21-1 overall and 9-0 in the Sierra Foothill League. The win was Del Oro’s ninth straight since its lone loss to Kennedy on Jan. 10. With three SFL games remaining, the Eagles are already gearing up for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, where they’ve been eliminated in the semifinals three of the last four years. “We are looking ahead but we’re definitely focusing on getting better as we get there,” Madeline said. “We’re very determined and we know that’s our main goal, but these next three games really can prove a lot.” The Eagles are looking to reach the Division III title game at Arco Arena on March 6. They haven’t appeared in the division championship since they beat Bear River to win the school’s second title in 1999. “We decided at the beginning of the year we have what it takes,” Lucy said. “We’re just trying to do everything that we can, focus on improving with every single step that we take.”