Hard-working Falcon gets moving tribute
Basketball: Jaden Salter plays final seconds after tearing ACL
Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017 06:00 am
It wasn’t the most important timeout a Foothills Falcon basketball coach has called, but it might have been the most emotional.
Foothills Falcon coach Amron Gwilliam called a timeout with just 25 second left in their 4A South Central title bout with the Holy Trinity Academy Knight despite being up by more than 36 points on Thursday.
It wasn’t about licking salt on the Knights’ wound it was about getting hard-working Falcon Jaden Salter on the floor for the last time in Okotoks.
“When we played Chestermere in December we had to carry him off the court,” said Gwilliam. “Tonight, we had decided that if we got the opportunity, we wanted to get him on the court and have the ball in his hands when the clock ran out.”
Salter tore his ACL against Chestermere and is awaiting surgery. Thursday’s game was the first time he had dressed since the injury.
“It was amazing to hear everybody cheering -- I can’t even explain the feeling I have right now,” said Salter, after the game at HTA. “High school’s done and it’s not the way I wanted to end it, but everything happens for a reason.”
When Salter stepped next to the scorer’s table to go into the game, Foothills fans started chanting his name. Meanwhile, Gwilliam was pleading for a timeout like he was Coach K in the dying seconds of a close Duke-UNC game.
Salter received a standing ovation from the Foothills faithful when he walked on the court.
He received the ball several times in the final seconds, with the sportsmanlike Knights not pressing to ensure the Falcon got his final high school basketball moment.
The well-prepared Falcons had planned for the moment, but still team captain Adam Pahl wasn’t quite prepared.
“We had planned this about a week ago,” the red-eyed Pahl said after the game. “But still, it was emotional. I couldn’t keep it together when he stepped on the floor.”
Another guy supporting the young Falcon was Knights coach Sam Aiello.
“It was a nice moment for him,” Aiello said. “It is always nice to acknowledge a kid who’s worked hard for a program.”