Moore leads Indians past Blackhawks at DeVos Fieldhouse
Saugatuck sophomore Madelyn Moore never got the chance to see Wes Leonard play in person.
She and her teammates on the Indian girls’ basketball team did, however, get a tutorial from Saugatuck coach Kevin Tringali about what kind of player—and, more importantly, person—Leonard was.
“I told them some stories about Wes and showed them some video of him playing,” said Tringali, who coached Leonard on a travel basketball team prior to Leonard’s death due to sudden cardiac arrest following a game in March 2011. “I told them to go out and play hard. Go out and play like Wes would play.”
Moore, for one, took that message to heart.
Moore scored a career-high 27 points to lead Saugatuck to the 53-40 win over Fennville in the Never Forgotten Game on Friday, Jan. 27.
The game, which was played at DeVos Fieldhouse due to high demand, honors Leonard and acts as a fundraiser for the Wes Leonard Heart Team, which donates automated external defibrillators to schools across the state.
“Before the game I was super nervous,” Moore said. “I was a little scared to play in front of such a big crowd in a building like this. I was afraid I’d mess up.
“But then I just thought ‘who cares,’ and I went out and did my best. I was really determined.”
The win snapped a four-game losing skid for Saugatuck (5-6 overall and 3-3 in the SAC Lakeshore), which is playing without injured starters Lily Francis and Alexis Borst.
“This was a huge win for us,” Moore said. “It means a lot. I hope it’s the turning point to our season.”
The turning point of this game came early.
Saugatuck opened the game on an 11-3 scoring run, including six points from Moore and four more from Erin Stanis. By the end of the first quarter, the Indian lead stood at 17-7.
Fennville did narrow the gap to six points on four occasions in the second stanza, including at 28-22 following a 3-pointer by Coryne Howard just before halftime.
But Saugatuck opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run—with five more points from Moore—to extend the lead to double digits once again.
“Our girls have been resilient and tonight was the most well-rounded game of the season,” Tringali said. “I am really proud of the team. The girls were not afraid of the moment. We told them to embrace it.”
Tringali credited Moore with leading the team to victory.
“Maddie did a little bit of everything,” he said. “You have to respect all aspects of her game.”
Stannis added 13 points for Saugatuck.
Lauren Saylor scored a team-best 14 points in the losing cause, with Howard and Danielle Davis chipping in with seven each.
“Our defense wasn’t where we needed it to be,” Howard said. “We weren’t talking to each other and weren’t helping each other out.”
Despite being disappointed with the outcome, Howard did enjoy the atmosphere surrounding the game.
“It means a lot to play on this stage,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll be a little better the next time we play (Saugatuck).”