Senior staff writer
Beech Grove High School’s Cameron Cardenas and Katie Giller easily could be sisters on or off the basketball court.
They hang out together, go to movies together, and they know how to have fun together.
And they know how to share a laugh when Cardenas said, “I don’t like her.”
Giller contended, “We’re both funny, easy going; we laugh a lot, just silly stuff.”
Luckily for Beech Grove’s hardcourt fortunes, they are serious when game time arrives.
Giller reflected, “When it’s game time, we go into a maturity mode."
Together they arguably make up the state’s No. 1 duo of girl players.
“I can’t think of any two juniors on the same team who are better,” said athletic director Matt English.
Their stats through eight games may prove it.
Cardenas averaged 20.4 points, 4.6 steals, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game; Giller 20.1 points, 10 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.2 assists per game.
They combined for 60 points last week against Tech with Giller scoring 33 points, hitting 11-of-15 shots, and Cardenas scoring 27 on 13-of-19 from the field.
They have played together for six years; two years on the same offseason club team.
“We can make eye contact on the court and know what to do,” Cardenas said.
Giller quickly replied, “It’s an instant read.”
The Hornets defeated host Franklin 63-52 Thursday in their final tune-up for the Marion County tourney opener Tuesday against Warren Central (result unavailable at press time). Cardenas and Giller each scored 20 points. Giller had 15 rebounds and Cardenas had six steals and four assists.
Rapidly improving sophomore Mallory Storms added 19 points and seven rebounds against the Grizzly Cubs. She is averaging 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Beech Grove is undefeated in its first nine games, averaging 70.7 points while holding foes to 40.6 points. The season-opening streak is two games better than what was set by the 2002-03 state champion Hornets.
The Hornets, under second-year coach Kristin Raker, are more than just the one-two punch of Cardenas and Giller.
Storms, the team’s most improved player last year, helps in the middle with her defense and rebounding. Seniors Mikiyla Kimbrough, Skyler McGregor and Asia Clifton and freshmen Mya Crawford and Neasua Lee saw action in the Hornets’ first seven games.
“Overall, we have taken care of business,” said Raker, who added that Cardenas and Giller lead by example. Raker said she wishes they were more vocal in their leadership although they are only juniors.
“Cameron is in a lot better physical condition than last year; she’s able to be strong through the fourth quarter now. And she is playing harder on offense and defense. Katie is a lot more aggressive, especially in attacking. She’s our all-around player who can play all positions.”
Raker said at times when her dad/assistant coach Gary Raker goes through fundamentals or a drill, the two “sisters” will look at me. That’s when they know it’s time to pay attention.