Borcky and McAteer stand tall for Garnet Valley girls

Garnet Valley's sophomore duo, Brianne Borcky (left) and Emily McAteer (right), bring the ball downcourt against Haverford January 3, 2017. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

"Look at this kid," he said almost under his breath but loud enough for the people immediately around him to hear. Some sound effects went along with his amazement.

"Oh!" he said, his eyes transfixed on what No. 42 was doing on the basketball court.

The grandfather of a Haverford player, the fan wasn't there to see Brianne Borcky and root on her Garnet Valley squad. But he couldn't help himself as he sat in the second row of the bleachers, just behind the scorer's table.

"Oh!" he repeated, as the sophomore got a rebound and effortlessly dribbled down the court, putting the ball through her legs before letting a nice pass fly that led to a basket.

Look at her indeed.

That's been the sentiment following Borcky and Emily McAteer for a while now.

Before, the looks were because of their height - six or seven inches taller than the next girl - when they first starting playing together in 4th grade.

They are still tall. Each stands at 6 feet. But now people stop and watch because of other things, such as the way they move around the floor for the Jaguars.

McAteer leads Garnet Valley (8-0) in scoring, averaging 15 points a game, while Borcky isn't too far behind at 11.

"Last year, we were forwards and centers," Borcky said. "We were just getting used to it. Now we know what the competition is, how well we play together. I feel like we just have to make sure to play our best every game. The expectations, well, there is always pressure. But we are also having fun. I enjoy it. I don't make it more than it has to be."

McAteer's mom, Meg, was their first coach together. Then they played on the Brandywine Youth Club A Team and were clad in blue, yellow and white jerseys.

Borcky remembers McAteer being "really good at basketball," while McAteer remembers that team being the start of Borcky playing the game.

Different levels. Different experience.

They had one thing in common.

"I remember it being, 'Hey, we are the same height. We're a lot taller than everybody else,' and that's pretty much how we became friends," McAteer said. "We bonded over that."

These days, their height isn't the only thing the pair have in common.

"It's kind of weird how we are so similar," McAteer said. "Exact same height. Same position. Mentality. We are like the same player. It's always been that way."

"Always" meaning around seventh and eighth grade and playing for St. Thomas.

As freshmen last season, both players worked their way into the starting lineup quickly and became impact players almost just as fast.

"I don't know how it worked out," Borcky said of being in the starting five for the first game. "It just did."

That's an understatement.

Together, the duo helped Garnet Valley to a third consecutive Central League title, an appearance in the District 1 Class 4A quarterfinals and a berth in the PIAA state quarterfinal round. It was the farthest the program has ever gone as the squad won its first state game.

"I'm really proud of last season, how our team played, where we got," McAteer said. "It's a good place to try and move forward for this season."

Move forward.

Borcky and McAteer each say last season's experience helped them mature and grow as players.

"They have great instincts, basketball instincts," coach Joe Woods said. "They are just basketball players. . . . Brianne handling the ball, and [McAteer] with her instincts inside, plus she can shoot the three. [McAteer] boards. She was our leading rebounder last year.

"Brianne loves to pass, loves to handle. She can see the floor."

A good handle. Strong defense. A knack for hitting the boards. Making a hard pass look easy. These attributes - and more - define Borcky and McAteer on the hardwood.

And they are just getting started.

"It will be exciting to see when we are juniors, seniors, see if we can be better," Borcky said. "See how far we can take it."

In other words, you better be on the lookout.