Kalabrya and Kysre Gondrezick carry on a family tradition on the basketball court
East Lansing – The Gondrezick-Harvey clan took a family trip to the Breslin Center in East Lansing over the weekend.
No, they weren’t coming into town to take in a Michigan State game.
They were all there to take a shot at the crown – a Class B girls basketball state championship.
Kalabrya and Kysre Gondrezick are two of the best players in the state and their Benton Harbor squad lost to Haslett, 63-52, on Friday in the semifinals.
Their mom, Lisa Harvey-Gondrezick, is their coach. Their dad, Grant Gondrezick, played in the NBA and is an assistant coach. Their grandfather, Lou Harvey, is a west Michigan legend on the sidelines (coached Benton Harbor for 22 years, accumulating over 300 wins and a state title in 2009) and is one of his daughter’s assistants, too.
Kalabrya will be playing at Michigan State next year. Kysre is a junior and will be a Miss Basketball candidate in 2016.
The chance to play for a state title, and do it with their parents and grandfather as a part of it, meant a lot to them.
“This is the kind of experience you’ll never forget, it’s something you can’t describe or know what it will be like until it happens,” said Kalabrya, who had 20 points on Friday. “The fact that we’re not going back to Benton Harbor with the title makes it a little bittersweet, but I’ll always remember it as a special day in my life.”
Kysre (17 points on Friday) is accustomed to the familial environment.
“With us, it’s a family affair game in and game out,” she said. “My dad, my mom, my grandfather, they’re all mentors to me and my sister. They know the game so well and they try to impart as much as possible on us. We want to get back here next year. Coming up short means I have a lot more work to do.”
Gondrezick was so nervous in anticipation of the semifinals, he opted to take himself off the bench and plant himself in the stands.
“This was a lifelong dream for us, this is what the girls have been working for since Day 1,” he said. “I’m just so, so proud. They worked so hard to get here. You always want to see your kids achieve their dreams. (Friday) was the realization of all of that.”
Gondrezick played professionally with the L.A. Clippers, the Phoenix Suns and overseas. He’s also Benton Harbor’s freshmen coach.
Harvey-Gondrezick was an all-state player at Benton Harbor in the 1980s before going on to play at Louisiana Tech on a National Championship team.
She isn’t satisfied with just reaching the state finals.
“We were relentless in our pursuit to get here, getting the chance to coach these girls is a blessing,” she said. “But when we got here, we didn’t just want to show up, we wanted to show out. That’s what we have to keep working for as a team. We want a banner of our own.”