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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

February 19, 2009 at 3:39 PM

A show of sportsmanship and some links

Brawls and fights garner a disproportionate amount of attention in all levels of the sporting world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great stories of sportsmanship.

This story takes us to Wisconsin, where Madison Milwaukee senior Johntell Franklin learned one Saturday morning that his mother had lost a five-year battle with cervical cancer.

Madison coach Aaron Womack Jr. considered canceling his team’s basketball game that evening, but Franklin told his coach to go on without him.

No one expected the young teenager at the game that night, but to everyone’s surprise, Franklin showed up in the second quarter ready to play. Unfortunately he wasn’t listed in the official scorebook and a technical foul was called as soon as he checked in.

The opposing coach from DeKalb, Dave Rohlman, had Darius McNeal step to the line to shoot the free throws. Then came an unexpected display:

During technical free throws, no other players are allowed around the free-throw lane. So Womack gathered Madison’s players around his bench, on the other end of the court, and was trying to reel in their emotions when he saw something odd out of the corner of his eye:

Instead of swishing through the basket, the ball rolled slowly across the end line.

“I turned around and saw the ref pick up the ball and hand it back to the player,” Womack said, “and then he did the same thing again.”

“Darius set up for a regular free throw, but he only shot it two or three feet in front of him,” Rohlman said. “It bounced once or twice and just rolled past the basket.”

“I did it for the guy who lost his mom,” McNeal said. “It was the right thing to do.”

After the second shot, everyone in the gym – including all the Madison players – stood and applauded the gesture of sportsmanship.

“Any one of my teammates would have done the same thing, and I think anyone on the Madison team would have done the same for us,” McNeal said.

Madison went on to win the game 62-47 and Franklin finished with 10 points. But clearly it wasn’t the final score that stood out, but an amazing story of support and sympathy during a game of competition.

* * *

Here are some other prep sports stories out there:

A bizarre 17-point play to win a game in California was deemed to have been improperly officiated. Here’s the video of the crazy contest.

— A self-proclaimed “3-foot-something” girls basketball player stars at a New York high school.

— A-11 football manuals are now for sale, but the new-look scheme has been banned by the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee.

— An Illinois boys basketball team’s season has ended after the players allegedly urinated in the visiting locker room.

— Do you have any thoughts on a prep football star weighing his options to skip college football and go to the CFL?

— Here’s a comical story from Indiana of a fan confronting a ref, only to realize that the ref is also a cop.

— A Florida school’s “philosophy” bans boys from wrestling girls.

— A prep basketball coach in Kansas gets in trouble for using hypnosis on the team.

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