HUDSON — They are indispensable, thanks to their extraordinary talents and wealth of experience.
There is a catch, though.
Neither member of this royal blue-and-gold pair will be found sitting on an imperial throne at a magnificent castle.
In fact, these two young ladies may look more at home on a farm or a field.
Thus, it’s a good bet the dream job of Tallmadge seniors Lizzie Bickar and Jill Catalano might be a bit cruder than most.
That’s because they may be more likely to pursue careers in plowing, sowing, reaping or possibly threshing.
Oddly enough, Brett Bickar doesn’t seem to mind. For the Blue Devils head girls basketball coach, these two so-called "peasants" will always get the red-carpet treatment in his illustrious fortress.
"I always preach it to the girls: ‘Learn from them,’" Coach Bickar said of his two cornerstone players. "The next play is the one that matters, not the mistake you just made."
In a 39-34 loss to host Hudson Wednesday at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium, the first-year head coach’s favorite agricultural laborers didn’t exactly err on the side of caution.
Lizzie Bickar, a senior guard, missed her share of outside shots. Catalano, a 5-foot-7 forward, had some attempts go past or wide of the basket too.
More times than not, though, these two distinguished ladies had an uncanny knack for turning their negatives into positives.
Oftentimes, they did so rather rapidly. They happily got their hands dirty in the process too.
"Lizzie dribbles one off her knee [Wednesday] and then she gets a steal at the other end," Coach Bickar said. "That’s how you play the game of basketball. Same thing with Jill. You miss a shot; you make a turnover; you make a play on the other end."
Lizzie Bickar, who leads the team in a number of statistical categories, finished with 19 points, six steals and four rebounds.
She works overtime too. In this case, though, her services take place in a much more regal atmosphere.
The younger Bickar, who captured a 2019 Division I sectional championship on the links this past fall, plans to continue her academic and golfing careers at Indiana State University.
Catalano doesn’t particularly care for punching out when her shift ends either.
The two-sport star, who scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds against the Explorers, recently ended a rather majestic career as an outside hitter for the Tallmadge volleyball team.
When it comes to athletics, there are times when the most gifted performers put their supercharged vehicles into cruise control.
That’s certainly not the case with these two grunt workers.
Lizzie Bickar and Catalano will proudly go full throttle until they hang up their jerseys for good.
As for their coach, he may consider the words of late American novelist and poet John Updike when it comes to his dutiful disciples.
"Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant, of a teacher and a learner."
Thanks to Lizzie Bickar and Catalano, this particular "marriage" plans to continue striving for "noble" causes the rest of the way.
"Anybody who wants to be a good basketball player should watch how they play," Coach Bickar said. "The young girls should be learning every day in practice and games. They’re two of the hardest workers you will ever have."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.