Indians survive for triple-overtime victory over Blackhawks
Kiri Tiemeyer put together a dominant performance in the Saugatuck girls’ basketball team’s showdown with rival Fennville on Friday, Jan. 29, finishing with 32 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks and four steals.
But the talented senior center could do nothing but offer moral support to her teammates after fouling out with 2:17 remaining in the second of three overtimes.
“It was nerve-racking just sitting there on the bench,” Tiemeyer said. “But I knew our younger girls were prepared.”
And none of those younger girls was more prepared than freshman Alexis Borst, who scored five of her seven points after Tiemeyer fouled out. That helped propel Saugatuck to the 51-47 win over the Blackhawks in front of a sell-out crowd as part of the Fifth Annual Never Forgotten night.
The fact that the game honored the memory of former Fennville standout Wes Leonard and raised money for the Wes Leonard Heart Team only made the evening that much more special for Indian coach Kevin Trinagali.
“I’ve been coaching almost 20 years and I’ve never been part of something quite like this,” Tringali said. “To honor Wes, a former player of mine, and be in front of a crowd like this is something you couldn’t script. It’s a moment these girls will never forget and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The fact that the game even went to overtime—let alone three—seemed unlikely for much of the game.
Fennville fell behind 6-2 midway through the opening quarter, but responded by scoring the final five points of the first period to go up 7-6. The Blackhawks maintained a lead until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, going up 35-29 on a basket by Hannah Schneider with 1:45 to play.
But that’s when Tiemeyer, known mostly for her inside game at 6-foot-2, stepped behind the 3-point arc and nailed a pair of long-range shots in a span of 54 seconds. That tied the score at 35-35 and eventually sent the game to overtime.
“I practice (3-pointers) in practice all the time and I mess around with it with my brothers in the backyard,” Tiemeyer said. “I just knew we needed those shots and I was wide open so I pulled the trigger.”
After the first overtime ended tied at 39-39, Sauga-tuck (10-3) took a 41-39 lead in the second OT on a bucket by Tiemeyer. But with 2:17 left, Tiemeyer fouled out.
With Fennville having gone up 43-41 thanks to baskets by Kelsy Overhiser and Schneider, Borst scored with 27 seconds on the clock to make it 43-43 and force a third overtime.
A pair of free throws from Erin Stannis put Saugatuck back on top and Borst did everything she could to make sure the Indians didn’t relinquish it this time.
After scoring on a putback with 1:21 remaining, Borst got the rebound on a missed shot by Fennville and was fouled. She made one of the two free throws and then came up with a steal on the defensive end of the court.
“It was really nerve-racking knowing Kiri was out of the game,” Borst said. “I’m just so happy and excited. This means so much. I still can’t believe it.”
A basket by Schneider with 22 seconds left pulled Fennville to within 48-45, but Madelyn Stewart made three of her four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds to seal the victory.
“This was all heart,” Tringali said. “We’ve been in situations like this all season. Maybe not quite so dramatic, but close games and we’re finding ways to pull it off and we’re doing it with freshmen and sophomores. I couldn’t be prouder.”
For full story, pick up a copy of the February 4 issue of The Allegan County News or The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.