Story by Allison Hayes & Ambrosia Neldon | Photography by Wes Jerdon/Westley Leon Studios
When the final buzzer sounded after a basketball game in late February, the entire crowd in the packed Buchanan gymnasium erupted. Fans of both teams jumped to their feet, clapping and screaming after an intense double-overtime.
While of course not everyone was cheering for the winning team, fans on both sides were excited because they knew they had just witnessed history being made.
Kysre Gondrezick, a Benton Harbor senior standout, wiped the sweat off her forehead and walked off the court, cool as a cucumber, as if this was just another ballgame like countless others in her career. But in reality, the all-star player had just scored 72 points in a single game — the most a female basketball player has ever scored in a Michigan hoops contest.
But when the shock wore off and the news finally hit her, Kysre joined her teammates in bouncing up and down on the court, cheering in celebration not only for the team’s win, but for an impressive record made right here in Michiana.
Almost exactly one year earlier, Kalabrya Gondrezick was in a similar spotlight, but instead of her more common attire of sneakers and a jersey, she was donning an elaborately beaded champagne evening gown onstage at the annual Blossomtime pageant to represent her hometown as Miss Benton Harbor 2015.
After being named a finalist in the top five of the contest, the teenager’s knees were visibly weak as she held the hands of other contestants anxiously awaiting the announcement of the newest regional queen.
But when Kalabrya’s name was announced as the winner of the 2015 pageant, her face bore little reaction — at least for the first few moments. Apparently in shock, the crowd giggled as the former queen had to nudge her successor to crouch down so she could be crowned.
And then, as she realized she was Miss Blossomtime 2015, the tears flowed freely down Kalabrya’s face.
But this is far from the end of the story for the sisters.
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