Girls basketball: Moray tournament holds special meaning for participants

Girls basketball: Moray tournament holds special meaning for participants

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Girls basketball: Moray tournament holds special meaning for participants

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Each team in this weekend’s fourth annual Lisa Moray Memorial Tournament at Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls has a connection to the late Ketcham and Sacred Heart University star who died in a car crash in 2008.

Ketcham is where Moray first made her mark in local basketball, scoring 2,021 points over six varsity seasons for the Indians. Two-time defending champion Arlington is coached by Kim Costello, a close friend of Moray. Red Hook, last year’s runner-up has two of Moray’s nieces, Julianne and Jessica Wilkinson, on its roster. Emily Krieger, a former teammate of Moray with the Hudson Valley Knights’ AAU team, coaches Dover, a new addition to the event.

Moray died in a drunk-driving collision with friend Meghan Wood behind the wheel on June 18, 2008, at age 22, weeks after Moray graduated from Sacred Heart. Ketcham started hosting the Moray tournament the following December, with Our Lady of Lourdes winning the inaugural tournament and the proceeds going to the Lisa Moray Scholarship Fund.

Arlington will face Red Hook in a semifinal tonight at 6:15 before host Ketcham faces Dover in the other semifinal at 7:45 p.m. The losers of today’s games will face off in the consolation game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. before the 3:15 title game.

“I really don’t have words to express how much it means to me to play in this tournament with my sister,” said Julianne Wilkinson, who wears her aunt’s collegiate No. 11, while her sister, eighth-grader Jessica, wears Moray’s No. 50 that she wore at Ketcham. “I love playing with her on the court. Having her on varsity is such an amazing feeling and we get to play on the same court as my aunt did.”

Arlington defeated Red Hook 55-39 in a semifinal last year before defeating Ketcham in the title game the next day.

“We’re really excited and motivated because we lost last year and we want to come back and get a win,” Julianne Wilkinson said.

Costello expects a good game today.

“I think we match up well,” Costello said. “I haven’t seen them this year, but we know a lot about each other. We just have to make them work for every play they make. Our guards are very good defensively.”

Arlington point guard Jackie Rywalt was named the Most Valuable Player of last year’s Moray tournament.

“I hope we can give them a game,” Red Hook coach Pam White said. “Arlington’s a very good team and they have a lot of seniors and a lot of depth. We’re going to give them a fight.”

Dover, Krieger said, is eager to learn and eager to play in the tournament. The Dragons did not field a varsity team last year due to a lack of players.

“They want to go watch games and learn about the game of basketball,” said Krieger, whose team defeated Pawling on Monday. “The kids are eager and try to work hard every single day. Their knowledge of the game is starting to come along.”

Krieger said she explained who Moray was to her players.

“For me, it’s a pretty special one,” said Krieger, who played on the Hudson Valley Knights with Moray for two summers in 2000 and 2001. “Lisa was a great inspiration and influenced me as a player. To play with somebody as high a caliber as her was great. It was great to walk on a court with her.”

Ketcham’s first-year coach, John Spear, is also a first-year business teacher. He said he quickly learned of the importance of Moray to the Ketcham community.

“You don’t walk into the Ketcham gymnasium without finding out who Lisa Moray was for our program, school and community,” Spear said. “The players agreed that two wins this weekend would be bigger than any two wins all year. It’s an accomplishment anyone would want to have in their high school career.”

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