One good assist deserves another
Cherokee player helps his opponent score
By Tim Gallagher Journal staff writer

Dillon Moye had lots of assists on the basketball court for the Cherokee Braves this winter.

None were bigger than his pass to Sheldon Orab Matt Krogman, who played AGAINST Moye last Tuesday.

Here's what happened: Krogman, a sophomore at Sheldon High School, played basketball in fifth grade, sixth grade and then as a freshman and sophomore. And while he loves the game, he's not a gifted athlete. His customary position is at the end of the bench.

In four seasons he had never scored a point.

That changed Tuesday.

Matt Meendering, the Sheldon junior varsity coach, wanted Krogman to enjoy the feeling of making a basket. So, he put Krogman in the lineup toward the end of the game against Cherokee. Sheldon led by 10 points with several minutes remaining.

"We had talked at the start of the fourth quarter that if we got ahead, we would try to get Matt a chance to score," says Meendering.

It happened four times, but Krogman missed all four shots.

"Our four other players kept passing it to me and I shot, but I missed," Krogman says. "My first shot was a three-pointer that hit the front of the rim. A couple of the others were airballs."

Meendering then directed Krogman to stay at one end of the court, just under the Sheldon basket. When his teammates got a rebound or a steal, they were instructed to throw the ball his way. Not that they needed the direction. They, too, wanted their teammate to score.

"We got a long pass off, but it went out of bounds," says Meendering, who sensed opportunity passing as only 10 seconds remained.

Enter good sport Moye, who observed this Sheldon strategy and witnessed the crowd's frenzy. This Cherokee Brave put sportsmanship above gamesmanship.

"With 10 seconds left, my teammate, Brandon Henke, brought the ball up the court and I saw the Sheldon kid under his own basket," Moye says. "So I called for the ball and Brandon passed it to me. I got the ball and felt pretty bad for the kid and I figured he should probably score."

Moye turned and passed the ball to Krogman.

Krogman caught the ball, turned and, in a moment frozen in his mind, made the shot as time expired.

The Sheldon High School gym erupted.

"It was incredible," Meendering says. "The kids who were defending him from Cherokee ran up and hugged him."

"It really was great," says Krogman. "It was a great relief that I had finally made a basket. The first thing I did was go over and thank the Cherokee guy for passing it to me."

"When I first did it, I wasn't sure if my coach (Travis Schuller) would be mad or not," Moye remembers. "But he actually had tears in his eyes at the end of the game."

And Moye? "I had a pretty big smile on my face. The players from Sheldon came up and hugged me."

"It was a moment you don't think you'll ever see," Meendering adds. "But it gets to the heart of what athletics is all about. This is what makes you keep coaching; seeing a kid do the right thing. Dillon Moye went out of his way and it had impact."

"People said it was the highlight of the game," Krogman says of his only basket. "They said it was amazing."

For his part, Moye was content knowing he'd helped a peer -- even if the boy wore the uniform of a rival.

"My mom and dad were both there and my mom gave me a hug after the game," he says. "I could see my dad smiling at me on my way back to my locker."

Minutes later, the varsity game began and Moye, a junior, took his customary position -- on the Cherokee bench. That's when a woman from Sheldon approached and gave him an assist of sorts.

"I have no idea who she was," Moye says. "She just said she wanted to thank me for what I did earlier that night. She gave me a rose."

February 20, 2007
Sioux City Journal