They could’ve tried to salvage the box score. They could’ve played “whistle to whistle.”
The Desert Chapel High School basketball team had more than enough reasons to continue shooting at the end of Saturday’s title game against Trinity Classical Academy.
Instead, they offered a young man with mental disabilities the chance of a lifetime.
Down 75-52 with less than a minute left to play, Desert Chapel players opted to give their final possessions at the CIF-Southern Section Division VI title game to Beau Howell—a freshman at Trinity Classical living with autism.
According to Kenley Young of FOXSports.com, Howell subbed in with 59 seconds left on the clock. The freshman had played in nine games this season but had yet to make a shot from the field.
In an incredibly classy gesture, Desert Chapel players opted to help Howell achieve his goal before time ran out. To call the ensuing scene “moving” would be an understatement.
Fans of both teams cheered as Howell entered the game. His teammates immediately passed him the ball, and the freshman missed his first two field-goal attempts.
Desert Chapel took a timeout with 40 seconds remaining and, in lieu of drawing up plays, decided to make sure Howell got an open look at the basket. Yes, the team losing the game decided to help one of the winners achieve his dream.
Sportscasters calling the game abandoned all neutrality as Desert Chapel passed the ball to Howell.
“I know we’re supposed to be nonpartisan here, but go Beau!” said one sportscaster. “Come on, Beau. Let's get this one in, we’ve got 24 seconds. Let's get one in for you before the season’s over.”
Finally, on his fifth attempt, Howell swished one home.
“YES!” yelled one sportscaster. “Beau Howell, his first points of the season!”
Desert Chapel players congratulated Howell after the game—putting the cap on what could be one of the kindest, most admirable gestures you’ll ever see in a playoff atmosphere.
Sports fans love banners and hardware, but this is the stuff that stays with you. This is why we love the game.