With eye black striped along the sides of many of their faces, it was clear, these elderly folks came to see a show Friday night at Kentwood High.
And to no surprise, the player of the night delivered one.
Kentwood’s Lindsey Moore, in front of roughly 25 senior citizens from Renton’s Chateau at Valley Center retirement community, scored 17 points in leading the Conquerors past Kentlake 74-43 in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.
It was a night Moore and the senior citizens had been anticipating. The Kentwood star, arguably the best player in the state, spends her weekends serving food at the retirement center. Friday night, however, she was busy serving up assists, pulling down rebounds and scoring points en route to the win.
And, of course, in the midst of it all, Moore even had time for her elderly friends, who filled two rows of bleachers behind the Kentwood bench.
“If anything, I was too excited, too amped up to play,” said Moore, who will play on scholarship next year at the University of Nebraska. “I wanted them to see how good we are, see how much of a team we are. I was really anxious, wanting to get the game started.”
The senior citizens were just as excited to see their 17-year-old friend play. While many sported eye black, several others had Moore’s No. 5 painted in green on their foreheads.
“I hope it comes off because I have a funeral to go to tomorrow,” said 78-year-old Chateau resident Verlee Van Hee pointing to the green No. 5 on her head. “We just love (Lindsey). We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Nearly all of the senior citizens walked through the doors wearing green beaded necklaces as well.
Moore didn’t disappoint, either.
Initially nervous, Moore didn’t convert her first bucket until 2:50 remained in the first quarter. It gave the second-ranked Conquerors a 13-3 lead, one they would not relinquish. The Kentwood senior settled into a groove in the second quarter, scoring nine of her 17 points.
“She’s a very smooth player,” said 80-year-old Chateau resident Les Cooper. “She missed a few shots early that I was kind of surprised about, but I think she may have felt a little pressure from us over here.”
Kentwood (6-0 in league, 9-0 overall) took a 40-20 lead into halftime, then put the Falcons (3-3, 5-4) away with an 18-3 run to start the third quarter.
And, as always, Moore had plenty of help. Senior guard Jessie Genger and sophomore sensation Kylie Huerta each had 18 points to lead the Conquerors.
But the night belonged to Moore and her friends.
After the win, Moore immediately went into the bleachers to thank VanHee, Cooper and the rest of the gang for coming. She took photos, shook hands and passed out more than a few hugs.
“It’s great. I see them at their community and it’s different when you bring them outside into my environment and they see what it’s like for me,” said a smiling Moore. “A lot of them have ties to Kentwood some how. They’re related to some of the students here.
“It’s just cool to see how small the world really is.”
KL STILL IN THE HUNT
Kentlake coach Scott Simmons, who is no stranger to giving back to the community, was impressed with not only Moore’s play, but also the special relationship the Kentwood standout has with the senior citizens.
“It was really impressive to see the community come and support her,” he said. “It shows how important she is to the community. She cares for the community and is willing to work with the community and is willing to give back — and it showed tonight with how she was received tonight.”
One thing that didn’t show up in the box score was the play of Kentlake, which didn’t give in to Kentwood, which also is ranked second nationally.
Morganne Comstock led the Falcons with 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Brona Nienow added 11 points for Kentlake, which remains in a battle for one of the five playoff berths from the North.
“If we continue to grow, compete like we did tonight, show the heart that we did tonight, we’re only going to get better,” Simmons said. “With the talent that we do have … it’s going to be a tough draw in the district tournament, but I don’t think state is unattainable.”
ELSEWHERE FRIDAY NIGHT
• Kent-Meridian 45, Kentridge 42: Briana Shannon continued her torrid pace, reaching double figures in scoring for the eighth straight game to start the season and lifting the Royals (1-5, 3-5) past the Chargers (1-5, 2-8).
Shannon finished with a game-high 21 points. It’s the third time this year the Kent-Meridian guard has scored 21 points in a game.
The Royals trailed 22-16 at halftime before going on a 15-7 surge in the third quarter to take a 31-29 lead.
Melanie Vertrees, who poured in six points, was Kent-Meridian’s next highest scorer.
Kelli Suguro led Kentridge with 11 points followed by the 10 points of Megan Merrill.
• Auburn Riverside 83, Auburn 40: The fifth-ranked Ravens (6-1, 8-3) double up on the Trojans (1-6, 3-7) in a game in which five AR players reached double figures.
Nichole Jackson led the onslaught with a game-high 19 points. Jackson was assisted by Amanda Thomson (13 points), Brooklynn Hinkens (12), Mercedes Wetmore (12) and Makenna Clark (10).