Courtney and Christine Roush do not believe in twin telepathy.
The Mercy Academy basketball standouts and fraternal twins insist their uncanny knack for anticipating one another’s next move on the hardwood is merely the product of many years living and playing in close proximity.
“We’re together 24/7,” said Courtney, a six-foot forward who averages 10.5 points and 5 rebounds a game for the Jaguars.
“It’s not a real thing,” Christine said of the extrasensory bond that some believe exists between twins. “We can’t technically read each other’s mind, but when we’re on the court, we know each other’s tendencies better than anybody else.” A 5-foot-11 guard, Christine is averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds a game.
Supernatural or not, the intuitive play of the Roush twins has the 19-4 Jaguars situated as favorites to win the Sixth Region and ranked No. 3 in the Lexington Herald-Leader Dave Cantrell computer rankings and in The AP coaches poll.
This season veteran coach Mark Evans has built elements of his offense around the duo.
“We do a lot of pick and rolls just with those two and it really does make a difference. They do a nice job of reading the defense and knowing what the other one is going to do,” said Evans, who also serves as Mercy’s athletic director. “For us to be successful, we have to have them perform at a high level every time we touch the floor.”
The Roushes have not disappointed. Christine is shooting 40 percent from behind the arc and has a team-leading 47 steals. Courtney is shooting 54 percent from the field and 81 percent from the foul line.
Basketball is just one arena in which the Roushes are entwined.
Both have identical class schedules and matching 3.9 grade-point averages. Together they participate in National Honor Society, Peer Leaders and the Liturgy Planning Committee.
Courtney and Christine also spent three seasons as middle blockers on the highly-regarded Jaguars volleyball team and were reserves on the 2009 state championship team. This past summer they made the difficult decision to drop volleyball and focus solely on their college search and senior basketball season.
Attending the same college was not a priority, but when NKU offered both scholarships, Christine said, “It worked out perfectly.”
Long a Division-II power in the Greater Lakes Valley Conference, the Norse will transition into Division-I next year as part of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
“Nancy (Winstel) is an excellent coach. She’s one of the best of the best and has won a couple of national championships (’00 and ‘08),” said Evans. “I think Courtney and Christine would have the opportunity to play. The main thing they have to continue to do is get stronger.”
Both plan to study biological sciences, but have divergent career paths in mind. Courtney enjoys the outdoors and would like to work in environmental research, while Christine hopes to be a physician’s assistant.
The twins aren’t the only athletes in the Roush family. Younger brother Nathan, 15, is a sophomore at DeSales, where he is the starting point guard and played wide receiver and defensive back for the football team. Older brother Nick, 20, played high school basketball and football for the Colts as well and is now a sophomore at the University of Kentucky. Parents, Jim and Anita, round out the Roush clan.
State champions in 2010, the Jaguars are looking to get back to the Sweet 16 again after falling to Manual in the Seventh Region Championship last season.
Last Saturday’s 55-43 defeat at the hands of then-No. 1 Marion County in the semifinal of the Republic Bank/Coca-Cola Louisville Invitational Tournament was only Mercy’s second loss to an in-state opponent this season. On Dec. 23 the Jaguars fell 69-53 to then-No. 1 Manual.
Mercy already avenged its loss to the Crimsons when they toppled Manual 67-65 on Jan. 10 and will get a second shot at the Lady Knights when they travel to Marion County on Feb. 14 for a 6:30 p.m. tilt.
“When you’re playing a bunch of games back to back to back…sometimes your simple skills tend to go downhill,” Evans said after the LIT. “Your timing on screens and simple blocking-out kind of go by the wayside.
“It looked like we needed to get back to the practice court, and that’s what we’re going to do, starting tomorrow.”
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org.