Five players were honored as part of North Lincolnâ€™s senior night. Four in body and one in spirit.
Kenny Bethea, Kyle Baker, Alex Loftin and Reid Ketner watched as fellow-senior Trey Whiteside had his jersey retired.
Whiteside, a 16-year old, who passed away in a tragic car accident last summer was there in spirit as Principal Rick Freeman presented his parents father Dean Whiteside, step-mother Toni and mother Marsha. with one of his game jerseys and unveiled the banner that will be a fixture in the gym.
â€œTrey meant a lot of to these boys. He meant a lot to them,â€ Knightsâ€™ head coach David Johnson said. â€œIt was a good night to recognize him,â€ he added.
Ketner has honored Whiteside all season with wearing wristbands with Treyâ€™s initials and No. 35 on them. Many times after games last season, the two friends would stay behind and shoot basketball, just playing the game they loved.
Either by coincidence, or perhaps not, Ketner doesnâ€™t stay behind nearly as much to shoot baskets after a game. And who can blame him? Without his friend, itâ€™s probably not the same.
Thatâ€™s been the theme of the Knightsâ€™ season, â€˜Without Trey, it just not the same.â€™ Johnson said the first practice was different, the first game of the season was different and throughout the season Whitesideâ€™s teammates have often recalled memories about their teammate.
â€œHe was a great guy, a great player and had an awful lot of heart for this team,â€ Johnson said.
The kid, who joked around a lot, was quick to flash a smile and was always upbeat will always have a presence in the Knightsâ€™ gym, a fact Johnson and everyone else who was touched by his life appreciates.
â€œNo matter what heâ€™ll always be a part of North Lincoln basketball and of that gym. And that was a place he loved to be, so it was fitting for him to be remembered there,â€ he said.
North Lincoln Athletic Director Mark Lackey was one of many who has vivid memories about Trey.
â€œHe had a zest for life. He was one of those kids that could brighten a room. When you saw him, just about no matter how bad your day was, he could bring a smile to your face,â€ he said.
February 7th, 2006 was the day Whiteside became a part of the Knightsâ€™ gym but he had long been a part of many peopleâ€™s lives.
â€œIt was a very special night for all the seniors. It was a night where we felt like Trey was once again a part of us,â€ Lackey said.
by John Mark Brooks