Birchwood Christian Basketball team plays for more than a state title
Birchwood Christian School gets ready for the state basketball tournament. It's the first time for the Warriors under head coach Micah Ellington.
"These guys really play well together, they're brothers on and off the court," Ellington said before his team's final practice.
It's also the first trip to the tournament by Birchwood as Peninsula Conference champions. But, that joy is also tempered with heartbreak, as one player will not take the court.
Brandon Cramer lost his battle with Wilms Tumor, a form of cancer, on October 23, 2017. It happened less than a month before his fourteenth birthday.
"It was in his lungs and around his kidney," said older brother, Keith, who also plays for the Warriors.
Doctors diagnosed his cancer in February 2016, but it did not stop Brandon.
"Last year, when he was in eighth grade, he would play within an hour of having radiation, even if he was still bald and stuff from chemotherapy, he would still go and play," Keith said before practice.
Brandon's teammates shaved their heads so he would not feel alone.
Cancer claimed Brandon's life just before he started his first season of varsity basketball.
The Warriors honored Brandon's memory as they dedicated this season to him
"It's really good to see that happen. I think he would have been very happy with everything," said Keith, as only one thing would make him happier this season.
"It's pretty hard not to play with him, since I always wanted to play my last two years of high school with him, and I think he would have loved to be on the team that got to go to state," Keith said, as he prepared for a run at a state title.
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