CENTENNIAL - Arapahoe didn't need to win - playing was simply enough - when they took to the court for the first time since the tragic shooting a week ago. But they did anyways.
The Warriors boy's basketball team defeated Aurora Central in the opening game of the Rock Canyon Winter Classic Thursday night, 56-38.
"We're just trying to get through it. And it's a good way to do it; to play a basketball game brings us all together," junior Max Whitehead said.
The team wore 'Warrior Strong' t-shirts during warm-ups and was greeted by a rambunctious crowd of students that filled the away bleachers. Arapahoe played well though and led by double digits by halftime even as they felt awkward just being out there.
"It's a little weird to be back on the court to be honest," senior Griffin Hansen confided. "There has to be some return to normalcy and it's certainly nice to get back with the guys."
This was the first major school activity since the shooting on Friday. Although they admit that this is and will continue to be a sign that they can overcome adversity throughout the season, the Warriors also understand there is much larger meaning to their games.
"Right now, we're just coming together to play for more than ourselves," Hansen continued. "We have a whole school to play for and represent and, more importantly, just to play for Claire [Davis]."
Their peer is currently in stable but critical condition at Littleton Hospital after being shot in the school shooting.
The Warriors win won't change anything that happened but it could help many people moving forward.