By Jason Wesseldyk
After a 15-day layoff during Christmas break, the boys and girls basketball teams from Saugatuck resumed the season by hosting Galesburg-Augusta on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
And the Trailblazers came away with a split decision.
The Saugatuck girls opened the night by posting a 51-47 win before the Saugatuck boys dropped a 67-35 decision to snap a three-game winning streak.
Three players scored at least 12 points for the Saugatuck girls, led by 16 each from Kennedy Gustafson and Erin Moerler. Haley Rivera added 12 points.
“We had great balance in our scoring,” Saugatuck coach Kevin Tringali said.
The Trailblazers opened the game with a 13-8 scoring edge in the first quarter, but things would tighten up from there.
Galesburg-Augusta used an 18-12 advantage in the second frame to take a 26-25 lead to halftime. Saugatuck’s deficit grew to as many as seven points at 34-27 midway through the third quarter, but the Trailblazers closed the frame on a 12-4 run to take the 41-38 lead.
“It was a back-and-forth game all night long,” Tringali said. “We continued to battle late in the game with big rebounds and huge defensive stops to secure the victory.”
The victory improved Saugatuck’s record to 4-2.
“It was a great effort tonight,” Tringali said. “We didn’t always play smart, but we played extremely hard.”
Tringali had special words of praise for Moerler.
“It was really nice to see Erin have such a great game,” he said. “She deserves it. She comes to practice every day and works her tail off. If she continues to also be a scoring threat, we will be a tough match up.”
Saugatuck boys coach Brian Ward, meanwhile, knew his team was in for a battle.
The Rams entered the game with the same 3-1 record as the Trailblazers.
“We took one on the chin tonight,” Ward said. “We got out-hustled for most of the game and we definitely got out rebounded.”
Matt Hartgerink led the offensive charge for the Trailblazers with 13 points. Russell VandePoel joined him in double figures with 10 points, while Will Ayers was close behind with nine points.
By Jason Wesseldyk