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Saugatuck girls can’t sustain strong start in district semifinal defeat

Saugatuck girls can’t sustain strong start in district semifinal defeat

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By Leo Martonosi

Sports Correspondent

After one quarter of play, the Saugatuck girls’ basketball team looked like they were going to breeze to a Division 3 semifinal win at home over Calvin Christian on Wednesday, March 6.

That didn’t happen, though, as the Indians fell 46-34 to bring their season to a close.

“We shot well at the beginning, but we couldn’t buy a bucket in the second quarter,” said Indian coach Kevin Tringali.

The Indians were in complete command after the opening quarter, leading by 13 points at 15-2. But they scored only three points in the second period to trail 21-18 at intermission.

A basket by Erin Stannis put Saugatuck ahead 18-5 before its cold spell.

But the Squires ended the first half on a 16-0 run to take its first lead of the game.

Even though Calvin Christian was riding high, Saugatuck was still very much in the game after three stanzas, trailing by only five points at 34-29.

However, a bench technical foul which resulted in a three-point swing helped Calvin Christian maintain the momentum.

Grace Vannamen’s 3-point bomb put the visitors up 34-29.

Vannamen led the underdog Squires, who finished fourth in the OK Silver Conference, with 16 points.

“She was the best player on the floor,” said Gary Stevens, long-time sports-newscaster at WHTC and The Van Radio in Holland.

Madelyn Moore, who recently reached a career milestone by reaching the 1,000-point mark in scoring, paced the Indians with 14 points. Unfortunately for Tringali and the Indians, one of Saugatuck’s all-time best players sat out several first-half minutes when she was saddled with her third foul.

“To play so long without one of your top players obviously hurt,” Tringali said.

Tringali admitted it’s going to be difficult replacing Moore and her classmates of Erin Stannis (eight points), Lauren Branhill and twin sisters Natalie and Morgan Beckman.

“Maddie and Erin had four great years of varsity basketball,” Tringali said.

The Beckmans played three varsity seasons.

“We’re going to miss all of our seniors,” Tringali said. “You always do.”

Still, Tringali can hardly wait for next season as he’s thrilled to have a host of sophomores—including Zoe Myers, Emma Walker, Karri Moerler (seven points), Gracelyn Miller, and Kasey Losik—back for two more years.

“To be completely honest, I thought we had a good chance to win districts, so this is disappointing,” Tringali said. “The great thing is we have some very promising underclassmen returning.”