Typically, the winning team storms the court in celebration.
But on Friday night, it was the other way around.
Despite dropping their Class C district championship game to visiting Muskegon Heights Academy, 65-50, the Warriors of Western Michigan Christian poured out onto the court as the final buzzer sounded, making for a touching scene at the end of a hard-fought game.
With the contest out of reach and less than 10 seconds remaining on the clock, WMC coach Kyle Mastenbrook called time out so that he could put his five seniors on the floor. In storybook fashion, the Warriors threw a pass the length of the court to Sam Mast, who went way up to pull the ball in, then drove baseline and threw down a one-handed dunk, putting an exclamation point on a great season for the Warriors.
Mast ran out to center court and fell to the floor, where he was mobbed by his teammates, none of whom left the court with dry eyes.
“It was unbelievable,” said Warriors’ center Bernard Smith, who finished with a team-high 22 points in the loss. “Sam is the best dunker in our program, and we’ve been trying to get him a dunk all year. It’s crazy, his first dunk is his last.
“This is a great team. I’m going to miss this team.”
WMC coach Kyle Mastenbrook got choked up when talking about the heartwarming scene at the end of the game.
“I called time out; at that point, we knew it was over, but we wanted to recognize the seniors and all they’ve given to the program,” he said. “Rubin (Han) found Sam in the corner, and it was a great way to end his career. I couldn’t be prouder. It wasn’t a perfect ending, but only four teams in the state get to end the year with a perfect ending.
“We played hard. We played well. But Muskegon Heights had too much tonight.”
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.