Just three days after a school-shooting tragedy that gripped the nation, the town of Chardon (Ohio) came together to support the high school's boys basketball team in the Division I sectionals.
With four busloads of students on hand, assembled as a group known as the "Chardon Crazies", Hilltopper fans cheered on their team to a 78-59 victory Thursday against Madison.
The Hilltoppers led for most of the contest, taking a 34-26 lead at halftime. Nick Ruckel led the team with 22 points.
The contest was the first event of any kind for the school, which endured a tragic loss on Monday. A student took a gun out of a bag in the cafeteria and gunned down three classmates while wounding two others.
The Chardon basketball team received support not only from their own fans, according to a report in the Plain Dealer, but also from many who were there just to support the team in the wake of the tragedy.
"We all need to just be together as a student body," Chardon senior Matt Leskovec told the Plain Dealer. "This is, like, fundamental to our healing process."
The event, held at Euclid High School, was bathed in black and red, the colors of the Hilltoppers. Fans from both Madison and Chardon wore like-colored ribbons to support the team.
According to Chardon Athletic Director Doug Snyder, the game was important in the healing process for the students.
"It's about the kids, and they were able to be kids tonight," he told the Plain Dealer. "And all us adults took a little comfort in that."