The impact of Molly Watson
By John Ring
Molly Watson’s impact on the Galesburg basketball program can’t be diminished, even 10 years after her graduation.
As a sophomore, she virtually kept the Silver Streaks in the game until the fourth quarter in their Super Sectional loss to Normal Community.
A year later, her coast to coast layup against Freeport in the Sectionals launched Galesburg to a state tournament run and a 3rd place finish.
And as a senior, Watson was All-Conference, All-State and led Galesburg to a 2nd place finish and a 33-2 record.
In a basketball program marked by 20 and 30 win seasons and countless regional and Sectional Championships in the last decade, Watson still stands out as one of the premier players. She went on to play college basketball at DePaul University and is currently a teacher and assistant girls basketball coach at St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, Indiana.
The Indians are currently 19-2 and just routed New Prairie in the Class 3A Sectionals by a score of 85-53.
Now Molly Fordyce (she was married last summer), I caught up with Molly on the heels of her 10th anniversary of the 33-2 team that was undefeated until the last day of the season. “I met my husband at Ball State University where we were both Graduate Assistants in the Physical Education department. Brian and I quickly found out we had a lot in common with our love of sports.”
That game-winning layup against Freeport was pretty memorable. Is that still fresh in your mind?
“I still have a mental picture of that play in my head. It was such a big win for us because Freeport had been to State the year before and we knew they would be a bigger challenge than our next opponent.”
You had a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season. Did that help with your overall success?
“Losing three games in a row was a big wake up call for us. We realized that we couldn’t take any team lightly. We had to bring our best intensity to each game because every team we played was out to get us.”
You finished that season with a win for third place. How did it feel to go out a winner that season?
“Even though we didn’t leave the state tournament with the championship trophy, it was still great to end the season with a win. I remember the coaches telling us that only two teams in the state got to end their season on a win and it was special knowing we were one of those two teams. I remember before we played Stevenson, Coach Peachey got us fired up and the awesome rush we felt as the crowd erupted.”
How’s your team in South Bend doing?
“The varsity won the state last year so this is my first year here. Right now, we’re 19-2 and in the sectionals. Actually, we’re right across the street from Notre Dame. Our point guard just signed with Notre Dame, our junior guard committed to Tennessee and we have a 6’4” post player who is getting Division I offers from all over the country. I’m assisting with both junior varsity and varsity teams. I absolutely love coaching and I can’t wait to have my own team someday at either the high school or college level.”
A lot of the current Streaks still talk about you. How’s that make you feel?
“I remember a lot of them when they were in second and third grade at Streaks camp. It’s so awesome to see how they have matured and developed not only as basketball players but as young women. The girls varsity team five or ten years from now will be talking about Brenna Saline, Claire Anderson and Kelly Ricketts and how they looked up to them when they were younger. We’ve got such a special tradition in Galesburg. This is the benefit of growing up in a small town. I hope that it continues like that forever.”