Double Trouble on Court for Fontbonne JV Hoops Team

Twins Tess (No. 55) and Lucy (No. 5) Kuhlmann are a dual threat for the Fontbonne Hall Academy junior varsity basketball team. (Photos: Courtesy of Fontbonne Hall Academy)

Fans of the Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, junior varsity basketball team must be seeing double!

That’s because a set of twins — freshmen Lucy and Tess Kuhlmann — is off to a fast start in their first season with the Bonnies.

The twins grew up in Rockaway Beach and played their Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) hoops at St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor, where they also attended grammar school. They’ve been teammates ever since they learned to dribble a basketball.

When it came time to choose a high school, the Kuhlmanns both fell in love with Fontbonne, given the academic and athletic tradition, as well as the proximity to their home. They also worked out over the summer with Fontbonne’s JV head coach Brittany McDonough, a fellow Rockaway native.

Lucy, who is proud to say that she is older by 30 seconds, is the team’s point guard. She is an adept scorer who also works to distribute the ball to her teammates. Tess is a wing player and one of the top shooters on the team. These two have a sixth sense for always knowing where their twin is on the court.

“It’s always fun to have her (Tess) by my side,” Lucy said. “We do everything together, so I couldn’t picture what it would be like not having her there. It’s really nice.”

This special bond on and off the floor has helped these student-athletes adjust well to their high school surroundings. Even outside of Fontbonne practice, they’re constantly heading to the St. Francis schoolyard or gymnasium to hone their skills together.

“It’s easier because I already know someone on the team, and I know that she (Lucy) can play well,” said Tess, the slightly younger twin. “I know that we can play well together, and we can beat any team with hard work.”

For siblings — and especially twins — everything must be a competition. These two are always turning even minute things into some form of a contest. In practice, they often match up in one-on-one drills together to further the competition.

In the long run, the twins competing among themselves to get better naturally has a positive impact on the team. Coach McDonough knows this friendly competition is certainly not a bad thing.

“They’re identical, but their personalities are 100 percent different,” said McDonough, in her first year as Bonnies JV head coach after playing and coaching at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia. “They have such a different style of play.

“Lucy is strong as a true point guard, and Tess is very versatile. I can really put her anywhere. They love to bicker on the court. That’s how you know they’re sisters.”

Playing competitive CYO ball at St. Francis de Sales prepared the twins for their tough GCHSAA schedule. They’re continuing to develop their game as they gear up for the bulk of the regular season with the playoffs in sight.

Both Lucy and Tess are starters on the team, with most of their minutes coming together. They know that if they stay dedicated, they’ll continue to be a dual threat throughout the league.

“There’s so much potential with them,” McDonough said. “If they keep working hard, I know they’re going to be great players, especially together.”

“Twinning” doesn’t necessarily lead to winning, but twins at the top of their game undoubtedly will lead the Bonnies to lots of W’s.

Contact Jim Mancari via email at