On Tuesday, February 6, the Leesville men’s junior varsity basketball team faced off against rival Millbrook Wildcats. The Pride lost the game 74-61, but an act of sportsmanship displayed by the team exemplified that winning is not always important.
Jayvin Talley is a manager for the Millbrook JV basketball team. Talley has special needs, but is constantly involved with the Wildcat basketball program.
“Jayvin is a great young man that we at Millbrook like to have around,” said Chris Davis, Millbrook men’s junior varsity basketball coach. “Jayvin gives back to his school everyday.”
Four Millbrook players team could not play against Leesville due to injury. So, with just two games left in the season, Davis decided to dress two of his managers for the game, including Talley. “[I wanted] to reward them for their hard work and dedication to the team,” said Davis.
Late in the game, Millbrook had a lead over the Pride. With just a few minutes left on the game clock, Davis decided to send Talley to the scorer’s table and put him in the game. He wanted to give Talley his first chance to score in a game.
Talley had a couple of opportunities to score as time ticked down. He missed one open look at the basket and didn’t have a chance to get a shot up on a fast break.
After the failed fast break, Ishua Benjamin, Leesville men’s junior varsity basketball coach, called a timeout and brought the team together.
“Coach told us that we should help [Talley] try to score,” said Hadi Barakat, a member of the Leesville men’s JV basketball team.
Coming out of the huddle, the Pride purposely turned the ball over to Millbrook. The Wildcat players passed the ball to Talley, who scored a layup. The Millbrook bench erupted into cheers, shouting and celebrating for their friend. “[I was] happy and almost to tears. Very emotional,” said Davis.
Although Leesville lost, the team enjoyed giving Talley a special moment out on the court. “Morally, [the team] felt good for him,” said Barakat. “We wanted him to score, so we were happy.”
Davis praised Benjamin and the Leesville team for the act of sportsmanship they showed to his team. “The fact that Leesville would not only help [Talley] score a basket, but be as happy for him as we were, that’s special,” said Davis.