Teams set rivalry aside for one of their own

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By Kristin Beck

Good sportsmanship is still alive and well in Carroll and Trimble counties.

Despite being border rivals, the two teams put aside their differences for the betterment of one of their own.

Carroll County senior Dallas Gibson was well on his way to hitting the magical 1,000-point mark for his high school career. Averag-ing 19.5 points per game, along with 10.4 rebounds per game, he was just 13 points away from reaching 1,000 points.

And then on Jan. 2, his basketball world seemed to come tumbling down when he tore his ACL against Henry County and was pronounced out for the season.

Thirteen points away.

On Jan. 10, Trimble County head coach Johnny Leep III was scouting the Panthers at home against Anderson County when Gibson’s dad, Joe, came up and started talking to him about his son’s injury. Leep, a former middle school and assistant coach at Carroll County, coached Dallas in seventh and eighth grades and one year on JV as a freshman, and had known him since he was a young boy at basketball camp.

Soon, a plan was devised and approved by both Leep and Panthers head coach Carroll Yager to allow Dallas to reach his goal: seven straight layups by both Carroll and Trimble counties to start the game when the two teams met in Bedford Tuesday, Jan. 29.

I had heard talk at one time that there might be a plan in the works to get Dallas to the 1,000-point mark, but nothing had been said for a while. Normally, we don’t cover away games unless it’s the playoffs, and my co-worker at our sister paper, The Trimble Banner, was already going to be at the game. But as soon as I got the call from Coach Yager the day before confirming the arrangement, I knew I had to be there. I couldn’t miss this moment.

When the night finally arrived, the gym was buzzing with excitement for both Dallas and the fiercely competitive rivalry game about to take place.

In an interview about half an hour before the game, Dallas grinnedgame, Dallas grinned when asked how he was feeling. “I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s been a really great opportunity for the coaches who have done this for me and it’s really meant a lot for them to do this for me.”

In planning coverage for the event, I decided almost immediately that I wanted to shoot video. I wanted to combine interviews with Dallas and the head coaches with game footage to give our readers (or website-viewers) a better idea of the importance of the event. I wanted to capture the energy and anticipation leading up to the big moment and then show Dallas scoring his 1,000th point in action.

Check out the finished product on our website at www.mycarrollnews.com.

As the seconds ticked down to the tip, my stomach started knotting up with excitement and nervous energy. I cannot imagine how Dallas must have felt.

The Raiders “won” the jump, and senior Ethan Merrill scored seven straight layups.

With a 14-0 lead, the ball was inbounded and passed to Dallas, who scored his 987th through 1,001st points in a Carroll County High School uniform. Everyone in the stands on both sides of the gym was giving a standing ovation as history was being made.

When the final layup came through the hoop, an injury timeout was called by the referees, and the announcer said those magic words: “Dallas Gibson has just scored his 1,000th point for Carroll County.”

Scoring 1,000 points is a special moment in the life of a student-athlete. But it was the way in which it was done, the sportsmanship not often seen on any level of competition that made the night unlike any other.

Kristin Beck is the news and sports editor for The News-Democrat and resides in Carrollton.