Former Grand Valley star Tammy Busser credits family, coaches, teammates for her success on hardwood
By KARL PEARSON
There'll be a gathering of the Killer Bs on April 10 in Conneaut.
This time, it will be a time of celebration for Tammy (Busser) Moodt, her mother, Evelyn Busser, and her sister, Terri Busser, in particular. To be sure, Tammy's husband, Lowell, her children Matthew and Megan and her brother, Raymond, and her in-laws, Char and George Moodt, will be there, but there is a special bond the three Busser women have shared for many years.
It all will culminate with Tammy's induction into the third class of Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame that night at the Conneaut Human Resources Center. At 35, her selection makes her the second-youngest member of the Hall of Fame behind Jefferson product Anita Jurcenko Moore, who was a part of the 2004 class.
Tammy Moodt still can't believe she's a part of this class, despite credentials as one of county girls basketball's Grand players, scoring 1,328 career points, that definitely qualify. Those numbers ranked third when she graduated in 1989 and still stands eighth of 21 girls who have scored 1,000 or more career points.
"I was pretty shocked and amazed when I found out," she said. "I was very surprised and happy at the same time."
Moodt readily admits she owes a great debt of gratitude to her mother, sister and brother. She still cherishes the memories of the opportunity the three women got to compete together.
"We used to play softball together and our teammates used to call us the Killer Bs," she recalled. "Those were great times."
As much as anybody, Moodt has to credit her mother and her siblings
with helping her achieve what she did. The Busser household had a basketball hoop and paved driveway where Evelyn and her three children spent many an evening.
Her mother was one of the best athletes in Ashtabula County as a schoolgirl but didn't have the luxury of interscholastic sports at that time. Moodt respects what her mother has been able to accomplish over the years.
"My dad passed away when I was in the eighth grade," she recalled. "My mother gave me so many opportunities. She was a single mother back when you rarely heard the term."
Her sister was one of the best athletes in her 1986 graduating class. Her twin brother was automatically a rival.
Needless to say, the competition in the Busser household was great. Moodt feels that is one reason why she was as good as she was at basketball.
"Yeah, I always wanted to be like Terri," Moodt said. "I always wanted to be better than Ray since he was my twin. I just wanted to be as competitive as I could. That's why I played Little League baseball."
That's where she also had one of her first meetings with her future husband. They were teamed up on Ralph Turk's Orwell Tigers.
"We've known each other since the third grade," she said. "We dated all four years in high school. I think we complement each other."
Between the backyard basketball brawls and the sports with the boys, Moodt was constantly tested athletically.
"I think playing with the boys helped," she said. "I don't know if you can compare baseball to basketball, but playing against boys toughens you up a little."
Despite her ability to play baseball, which later turned into a stellar softball career with the highly successful Grand Valley program, basketball was Moodt's calling.
"I'd say junior high was when I knew (I could play)," she said. "We didn't really have anything organized. It was just an intramural thing."
She noticed, though, that she had a strong ability to put the ball in the hoop. When her team needed a shot, she always found the ball in her hands.
"When I played, I scored a lot of points," she said, recalling her junior high days. "So I knew I was pretty good. But it really didn't sink in until I was a freshman. I didn't play JV, I was on varsity with Terri and that's when it really sunk in."
"I can't remember how much I scored but it was quite a bit," she said of her first year. "But I don't remember there being a lot of pressure. I just fit in."
One year later, Moodt found herself as the main scoring threat. Incoming freshman Kim Henson was going to be a big help, but Moodt was going to have to be the leader, something not characteristic of a sophomore.
She knew she had to get better.
"I went to (basketball camp) in the summer and played in the driveway with Lowell," she said. "Mom was always there encouraging all of us to be the best we could be."
Moodt had to do all of her work out of the post position, meaning that someone had to get her the ball.
"Robin Schuller, Seanna (Kampf) and Kim (Henson) fed me the ball," she said. "I'd say I got most of my points off passes. I know I wouldn't have all those points if it wasn't for them."
Moodt held the Grand Valley scoring record for a decade before it was broken. It eventually fell to Kim Henson's younger sister, Krystal.
As much as anyone, she credits the guidance of her high school coaches, Ron Chutas in basketball and Cyndy Thomas in softball, with molding her into the player she became.
"I owe so much to Ron Chutas," Moodt said. "He was in our wedding. He was so laid back. He was always joking and trying to make the experience as fun as possible.
"I appreciated him so much as an athlete. I don't think there was one time where he put pressure on me. He just fit my style. That's the way I like to work with people, too."
It's an approach she tries to take into her job in the human resources department at Welded Tubes in Orwell.
"I learned how important teamwork and getting along with other people was," she said.
She learned to work hard and put as much effort as possible into whatever she does from Thomas.
"CT was pretty intense," Moodt admitted. "That helped me a lot, too."
After graduating from Grand Valley, Moodt went on to play for Baldwin-Wallace, where she lettered four years for the Yellow Jackets.
"I didn't score that much, maybe five points a game (over the career)," she said. "It wasn't that big of a change, just a higher level of competition. I wasn't as good there."
Now, she's preparing to introduce 7-year old Matthew, a first grader at Colebrook Elementary, and 5-year-old Megan, a preschooler who will attend kindergarten at Grand Valley's new educational complex in the fall, to the backyard games where she got her start.
"We just put a concrete driveway in and we're going to put up a hoop," she said. "The basket's going to be adjustable to their height. We're going to get them started the same way I did."
It elicits memories of days gone by. Moodt hopes the results are as positive as they were for her.
"I just hope Megan or Matthew can be as good," she said.