Bill Powers was having trouble getting over his team's loss to McClymonds High in Saturday night's California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Division I boys basketball championship game.
Then the Monte Vista coach was approached by the family of one of his players. They had read the story in Tuesday's newspaper about McClymonds not having money to cover food and lodging for its trip to Sacramento for this weekend's state championship game.
The family wanted to rally together to raise money to donate to the Warriors — the same team that ended the Mustangs' season with a crushing 46-43 loss. Right then, Powers' mood perked up.
"I still had the hangover from (the loss) Saturday night," Powers said. "This has really been a nice cure for that."
Within hours, Powers had sent out an e-mail to parents within the boys and girls programs who had participated in the state playoffs and $1,100 had been gathered from donations by players and parents of both programs.
"I think it speaks to the spirit of competition and what it's really all about," Powers said. "You certainly went in there trying to beat them, and it was a good basketball game. But at the end of the day, somebody needs a little help, and this is the spirit of giving."
Powers spoke with Mack coach Brandon Brooks to inform him of the donation Tuesday. Brooks was shocked to hear the news.
"That's amazing, that the team you beat in NorCal, their parents want to help out with your cause," Brooks said. "That's unheard of."
Mack faces Westchester-Los Angeles in the Division I state title game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Arco Arena, looking to win a second straight state title. Brooks, who also fielded calls from 15 to 20 others who were looking to help, said the team will have enough money to cover its expenses.
"We're OK as far as donations for this weekend," he said. "It's too bad that we had to come to this point, but I very much appreciate people helping out."
Mack is also receiving a corporate donation from 24 Hour Fitness on behalf of its Hoops 24 youth basketball program. Company CEO Carl Liebert has a son, Jacob, who plays for Monte Vista, and he serves as the team's scorekeeper.
"Our team members are really passionate about athletics," said Wendy Yellin, public relations director for 24 Hour Fitness. "Some of our staff members from Hoops 24 have worked with junior varsity players from McClymonds, so we thought this was a good cause to support."
Before the Warriors take the court Saturday, the Monte Vista girls team will face Long Beach Poly at 6 p.m. in their first state title game appearance. Given the newfound connection, the timing couldn't be better, and there likely will be a good carry-over following from the girls game into the boys game.
"There's a little bit of ownership in the boys game now with the efforts they put forth," Powers said.
The parent who initially spearheaded the effort seeks no credit, declining to comment and requesting his name not be made public.
"They're coming from the standpoint of not really wanting publicity and just wanting to help them," Powers said. "This is just respect for a team that deserves to go up to Sacramento first class. "... (McClymonds seems) like a good group. I thought they were very gracious in victory."
Reach Jimmy Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.