ARDSLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It has been one week since a tragic car crash on Interstate 287 left two people dead — a teenager and a father, both from Westchester County.
The community is still in anguish. But as CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday, a high school basketball win is beginning to lift some spirits.READ MORE: Man Sets Fire To Christmas Tree Outside FOX News Building In Midtown
It was a typical warm-up practice for Ardsley High School senior Griffin Buckland and his team, before another big game. But Tuesday’s game against Irvington was far from ordinary. In fact, it was extraordinary, with Buckland winning it for his team.
“That was one of my favorite moments of just playing sports,” Buckland said.
The 17-year-old hit a buzzer-beating shot that brought the crowd to its feet and then on to the court. But there was one particular person Buckland was looking for.
“I was like get out the way I just wanted to hug Preston. That’s what I wanted to do,” Buckland said.
Preston Wachtell is Buckland’s lifelong friend and just lost his father in that car accident last week.
“We’ve become really close friends through sports and stuff. We’ve been eammates since middle school, all the way to football,” Buckland said.READ MORE: New Sharks Exhibit Coming To American Museum Of Natural History
Wachtell was one of three student-athletes who was in the 287 car crash. His father, Jordan Wachtell, and his classmate, Eric Goldberg, died in the accident. The buzzer beater was a bright spot for a community in mourning.
“It’s just kind of what this community needed right now, and we are very thankful,” Ardsley High School athletic director Mike Ramponi said.
“The tragedy is a lot bigger than basketball, but if we were able to provide even five minutes of happiness for the community, then I’m glad that it happened,” varsity basketball coach Sean Cappiello added.
It was the first game since the fatal crash. The Ardsley Panthers clawed their way to victory, 57-55.
“I would like to think that we had someone looking out for our players that day,” Ardsley School District Superintendent Dr. Ryan Schoenfeld said. “That also marked 57 points, which was the same age as Jordan Wachtell.”
Buckland and the rest of the team are now on a mission.
“As a community, we all have to come together and we all have to really help out everyone. Playing for Eric, playing for Jordan, everyone’s lives who were effected, that just makes everyone’s spirits higher,” Buckland said.
At a time when a community is looking for reasons to smile and hope, the basketball team really scored.MORE NEWS: Pfizer: COVID Vaccine Booster Appears To Protect Against Omicron Variant
Police said no charges have been filed against the wrong-way driver who is believed to have caused the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.