CHARLESTON,WV (WVNS) — Another trip to Charleston for the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles became so much more after the death of their teammate, Dwayne Richardson.
In WVSSAC 2021 state tournament Class AAA quarterfinal, the team took the court for the first time without their brother by their side.
Courage and strength, these were the words Woodrow Wilson Head Coach Ron Kidd used to describe his players and the family of Richardson.
After the death of their brother and teammate just days before the state tournament. Kidd gave his players the choice to continue to play or not. Each and every player knew what they needed to do.
“He wanted to and we knew that he would want us to no matter what, so we knew that we wanted to come down and play for him,” said Elijah Redfern, a freshman on the Woodrow Wilson basketball team.
The entire team wore shirts and masks with the number 12 in his honor, and they were not alone. Parents, students, friends and family from the area wore shirts bearing his name.
Throughout the tournament other teams wore his number. Todd Duncan of Shady Spring changed his number from three to twelve for their first game. Even the players for Morgantown all wore his number as well.
“Seeing the whole state support us, it really does mean a lot because Dwayne couldn’t wait to be here,” said Keynan Richardson-Cook, a junior on the team.
A moment of silence was held for Richardson and his jersey was placed on the bench. It was an emotional moment for many even those standing across from the Flying Eagles.
“The moment of silence I know I got emotional, you know it’s more than basketball absolutely more than basketball tonight,” said David Tallman, the Morgantown mens’ head basketball coach.
One fan said he knows everyone could feel his presence in the coliseum.
“They lost one of their brothers and when it all comes down to it a key piece of their team, but hopefully Dwayne is in the building and I think he is, and I think they can do it,” said Bryce Radford a former Flying Eagle basketball player.
Screams erupted and tears of bittersweet happiness were shed as the Flying Eagles scored their first points. They scored twelve points in both the first and second quarter. Coming into the second half, Beckley went on a run to get within four points.
“We could have folded the tent a lot of times during those runs they had but we kept playing extremely hard with a lot of strength and a lot of courage,” said Ron Kidd, the Woodrow Wilson mens’ head basketball coach.
And for Dwayne’s family, they got the chance to have something to smile about for bit.
“I thought that was awesome, he had to be strong to do that, cause I don’t think I could have did that as a parent,” said Kidd.
While the scoreboard did not read what the Flying Eagles would like, everyone was cheering for Dwayne and his brothers.