Heavy-hearted Eagles win for Gianna Loville
Mt. Hood Conference
6A Girls Basketball
In the grand scheme of things, basketball really doesn't matter that much.
That couldn't have been more apparent then it was in the girls basketball game between Barlow and Centennial on Friday night.
Earlier in the day, the Centennial community found out that Gianna Loville, a former player and a 2017 graduate at Centennial, had passed away on Friday morning for reasons that are still being determined.
Centennial head coach Jeff Stanek addressed the team beforehand to gauge whether his girls wanted to play in this game or not — although Stanek admitted that he already knew what the answer would be.
"I told them that if they decided to play, that I was going to coach," Stanek said. "We were going to play this like a normal game, and then cry afterwards. They decided in about two seconds."
Despite playing with heavy hearts, this Centennial team gave a gritty, hard-fought effort and left the court with their first conference victory of the season.
Dominique Andrews led the Eagles with 13 points as Centennial (5-8) came through with the 34-27 win over Barlow (4-9).
"That's what (Loville) would have wanted," Andrews said. "She was someone that we all looked up to. I just wanted to win for her tonight."
When the game was over, each member of the Centennial team and coaching staff was handed a rose by the Barlow players.
"We just wanted them to know that we care about them and that we are concerned about them emotionally with everything that has happened," LaFord said.
The gesture, which was initiated by Gifford, was greatly appreciated by those on the Centennial side.
"That was amazing of the Barlow players to do that. It really touched our hearts," Andrews said. "It showed that they really cared about us."
Look for expanded coverage ahead in our Tuesday, Jan. 16, print edition.