High schoolers pull off one of the classiest acts of sportsmanship you'll ever see
MAR 09, 2014 6:20p ET
Forget March Madness. Forget the runup to the NBA playoffs.
This is the best basketball-related story you'll read all day, and it involves two high school hoops teams and a blowout win.
Trinity Classical Academy (Santa Clarita, Calif.) and Desert Chapel High School (Palm Springs, Calif.) faced off Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI title game. And while the Trinity Knights came away with a 77-52 victory, the only thing many observers may end up remembering is the amazing sportsmanship on display by both teams in the game's waning seconds.
Witness the video clip below. With Trinity leading 75-52 with less than a minute left to play, the team subs in 5-foot-6 freshman Beau Howell, a player with autism who, according to one of the announcers in the video, has become a source of inspiration for the team and its fans. Indeed, as soon as Howell enters the game, the crowd roars with approval. The announcers note that Howell has played in nine (now 10) games this season, but has yet to score a basket.
His Trinity teammates immediately get the ball to Howell after the in-bounds pass for an open look. The opposing Desert Chapel Eagles realize it and appear to be almost cheering on Howell themselves.
"We saw him come on the court and everyone giving him a standing ovation, and he probably hadn't scored in his life," Desert Chapel senior Taner Alvarez tells The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. "Why not let him score in the biggest game of his life?"
Unfortunately, Howell misses both attempts, but there's still 40 seconds left on the clock, and Desert Chapel realizes that, too. So the Eagles call a timeout to set up one of the classiest moves you'll ever see.
Once Desert Chapel in-bounds the ball, Alvarez gives it right back to Howell and even directs him to the basket. After a few more tries, Howell sinks his first bucket with 20 seconds remaining on the clock. The crowd erupts, Howell hugs his teammates, and just like that our faith in the power of sports is restored.
"To see how this team, who doesn't know our school, certainly doesn't know Beau, to see the way they responded was such an incredible blessing," Howell's mother, Megan, tells The Valley Signal. "They had the opportunity to be disappointed and focus on themselves. It was a hard game for them, but they immediately responded in a beautiful way."
Alvarez told the newspaper he didn't know that Howell had autism, and neither did his teammates.
"That will always be in my heart," Alvarez tells The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. "That kid scoring and for me to give him that shot felt pretty cool."