By Leo Martonosi
FENNVILLE—With his team in Fennville for the Eighth Annual Never Forgotten Game in honor of the late Wes Leonard, Saugatuck girls’ basketball coach Kevin Tringali’s thoughts drifted back in time.
“I was very fortunate to have coached Wes (with the West Michigan Lakers),” Tringali said after his Indians left Fennville on Friday, Feb. 22, with a 56-31 decision.
The Never Forgotten Game benefits the Wes Leonard Heart Team, which raises money for AEDs.
“I can’t say enough good things about Wes, his brother and parents,” Tringali said. “There aren’t any people out there more caring than the Leonards.”
Leonard’s life ended tragically when he died from a cardiac arrest after swishing the winning shot at the horn to give the Blackhawks a perfect regular season 20-0 mark in March 2011.
Coryne Howard, a junior for Fennville, buried several long distance 3-point shots and even drove to the hoop with authority like Leonard did for three regular baskets.
“She’s just a great player,” Tringali said of Howard, who finished with a game-high 22 points for the Blackhawks. “She hit some very tough shots.”
The Indians used a balanced scoring attack to chalk up their 10th win of the season. Leading Saugatuck on the scoreboard was senior Madelyn Moore with 16 points.
Just a few days earlier Moore became the first Saugatuck girl since Ana Capostosto to knock down 1,000 career points.
The underdog Blackhawks had their home crowd thinking they could win after only trailing by six points after eight minutes, 13-7, and leading by four points at the halftime break, 21-17.
Saugatuck (10-8) locked up the game by outscoring Fennville (8-10) 21-4 in the third period on its way to the 25-point triumph.
“Like I’ve been saying all season, we haven’t played very well in the third quarter,” said Fennville coach Chip Nightingale said.
Some of that may be because of the Blackhawks small team numbers.
“Part of what happened in the second half tonight was we only had two bench players,” Nightingale said. “That’s difficult when you face a tall and deep team like Saugatuck.”
Emma Walker, one of three talented Saugatuck sophomores, dropped in 12 points, while finishing with nine points apiece for the Indians were senior Erin Stannis and sophomore Zoe Myers.
Fennville junior Jacqui Jaimes followed Howard in scoring with five points.
“We need to have some other people step up and put the ball in the basket,” Nightingale said.
Contact Leo Martonosi at email@example.com.