BELLEVUE, Mich. (WOOD) — Like it is for most players, basketball is an outlet for the Costello twins.
Gino and Gabby Costello are seniors at Bellevue High School. They’re fraternal twins and key members of the Broncos basketball teams.
“Who wins in a game of pig? I don’t know. We used to battle it out back in the day in the backyard,” laughed Gino. “You don’t really look at as a big deal but then when you’re talking to people, they’re like, ‘You’re a twin?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, I’m a twin.”
Gino plays for the boys team, ranked second in the state in Division 4. Gabby plays for the girls team, ranked third in the state.
“Before, it’s never been that we’ve had two winning teams so it’s nice to share the success,” Gabby said.
The family ties don’t end there. Their dad Joe Costello is the boys head coach.
“I’m not real good at much of anything, but coaching seems to be something I’m pretty successful at,” he said.
Both teams are poised for a deep postseason run, but there’s a key member of the Costello family and the Broncos family missing who was also supposed to be on the journey.
“I could try and cheer it up, but there’s an emptiness,” Costello said. “There’s just a gap in there that’s not been filled.”
His wife Sandi Costello, the twins’ and their older sister Alyssa’s mom, was the team scorekeeper. She was also a teacher at Pennfield High School north of Battle Creek.
She died a little more than a year and a half ago following her third bout with breast cancer.
“I think about her a lot. Every time I get in the car. Every time I come to school, I think about what if I had her as a teacher,” Gabby said. “What would she be telling me to do?”
“I used to give her my number — because you give numbers when you’re going in — and she’d say something to me,” Gino said.
“Most of the things she’d say were sports-related. She always said, ‘Never get out-hustled,'” Gabby added.
She also told her kids: Know where you’re going.
“You only have one other option: Don’t go,” Joe Costello said. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t grieve that it happened.”
The advice drives the family as it navigates adversity far greater than any opponent offers.
“There will be a spot in my heart that’s always missing or empty,” Gino said. “Every day my friends remind me, all the loved ones I have (remind me), that it’s OK to show emotion. It’s just day by day.”
Because while it may not feel like it on the court now, mom is always keeping score.