SPRINGFIELD, Mo. At Missouri State University’s Hammons Student Center, there was a sea of purple in the normally maroon-filled seats. The color was changed in honor of basketball player London White from Salisbury, Missouri, who passed away on Monday.
A playoff matchup between Salisbury and Hartville was scheduled for Springfield. They could have chosen to sit this out, but London’s family pushed them to continue.
”I wasn’t sure what we were going to do,” said Salisbury Head Coach Kenny Wyatt. “We needed the blessing from the family. And they were here today and supporting us.”
Hartville determined that even though they were playing that night, they wanted to do something special before the game because Salisbury was still grieving the loss of their teammate. Before the game, the two head coaches discussed praying together in the center of the floor.
However, Brett Reed, the coach at Hartville, and his team decided they wanted to do more.
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”We wanted to pay tribute to him,” said coach Reed. “And his family and those players over there, and the coaching staff, and this is the only thing we thought we could do in this environment. We’re sorry, our hearts hurt for them.”
Hartville typically wears blue and white clothing. Nonetheless, they wore a vivid, eye-catching violet for this particular game. Colors of Salisbury. The players rushed out of the tunnel during warm-ups sporting shirts bearing the slogan “Salisbury Strong” on the back. A pleasant surprise for the team’s grieving members.
“That was a great gesture,” said Coach Wyatt.
The Salisbury players persisted and triumphed despite losing a friend, comrade, and brother. Salisbury scored 20 points in the fourth quarter while London wore number 20.
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