Capital High boys basketball coach Scott Moore knew he wanted to do something special for team managers Joe Eden and Zack Akins on senior night.
So well before Thursday’s regular-season home finale against Nampa, Moore made sure both seniors were eligible to suit up, should the opportunity present itself.
“They are there every day at practice helping us out,” Moore said. “They’ve earned something more than just a simple team manager recognition.”
The boys, who each have special needs, were content to warm up with the team and sit on the bench in uniform for the first time. They had no idea how much better their experience was about to get.
With 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game and the clock running continuously because of the 30-point mercy rule, Moore sent Eden and Akins into the game.
Akins grabbed a steal, and Eden made it to the free-throw line.
“Both went in and out,” Moore said of Eden’s free throws. “The whole crowd was living and dying by each shot. It was so close.”
With 25 seconds left, a Nampa player was fouled, sending him to the free-throw line. Because the mercy rule was in effect, those free throws would mean the end of the game.
But Nampa coach Trevor Morris wanted to give Eden and Akins one more possession, so he called a timeout.
“That was one of the classiest things I have ever witnessed by an opposing coach,” Moore said. “... If he hadn’t done that, the moment would have never happened.”
The moment Moore is referring to brought everyone in the gym to their feet.
With the seconds ticking off, Eden dribbled to his right, squared up and launched a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
His shot was right on the mark.
“It was surreal. Your heart hopes for moments like that for kids that work really hard and deserve an opportunity,” Moore said. “Going into the game, you just hope sometimes against hope that they could just have that chance, and it was so special to watch.”