Chaney tops Mooney as coach’s late wife is honored pregame

Chaney tops Mooney as coach’s late wife is honored pregame

Correspondent photos / Robert Hayes Cowboys sophomore Matt Jones speaks to his team prior to opening tip-off versus Cardinal Mooney on Tuesday night.

YOUNGSTOWN — Sports, like many other forms of entertainment, has a way of bringing people together united for one cause. At the high school level, sometimes a show of support from the community emerges when needed most.

Bev Kester lost her four-year battle with breast cancer Sunday. As the wife of Chaney coach Marlon McGaughy, she rooted and cheered for the Cowboys program despite her ongoing struggle.

Tuesday evening prior to tip-off, both the Cardinal Mooney and Chaney teams wore pink shirts in her honor. The lights were then turned off at the Chaney gymnasium, as fans held up pink wands during a moment of silence as each Cowboys player each held a pink rose.

An emotional start to the evening for the Cowboys (12-8) led to a 61-46 triumph over their Steel Valley Conference foe.

“It was a big thing for me and my family. We’ve been going through a rough patch here, so the whole neighborhood came out to support us, so that’s a good thing,” McGaughy said. “When two teams get together, especially in their conference, to get together for one common cause, it was really special.

“It’s hard, but we teach our kids, you have to be at your best when adversity sets in, so it was good.”

Life is bigger than a game, something that Mooney coach Carey Palermo agrees with.

“This is one of those things where it’s kind of more than a game, the game is secondary. I think everybody in the area knows what’s kinda transpired over the last week feels for Coach Marlon, his family, and his daughter, and our hearts are with them,” Palermo said. “I thought the kids from Chaney came out and played inspired.”

Jumping out to an early 19-9 lead following the first frame, Chaney senior Jason Hewlett scored a quick 10 points, including back-to-back buckets to end the period.

Coming out of the gate with intensity was key considering the circumstances.

“This is very emotional for us so we knew it’s emotional for him and his little daughter. She came to every game, so was just the sweetest lady ever. We’re not just talking about this because of her passing, she really was just an angel,” said Hewlet, who scored 22. “We knew what she’s been fighting for four years, and Coach Marlon being here every day still sacrificing and spreading onto the youth, that’s what she wanted him to do.

“So him taking his time out of his day, seven days a week, six days a week the last four years, when he could be spending it all with his wife, that means everything to us, and we’re just thankful to him and her. Coach Marlon is just a great coach.”

Fellow senior Josiah Gonzalez tallied 15 points, including three early treys.

“If he needed time to spend time with his family we’re pretty understandable with that, so we understand what he’s been going through a lot, so we’re there for him 10/10 all the time,” Gonzalez said. “It was difficult (locking in) with the lights dim and the moment of silence all that, but we were able to lock in and get the W.”

“Our coaches really told us to move the ball, attack the gaps, find an open man, and that’s what we did.”

Mooney (11-7) cut the lead down to six late in the contest, with junior Ashton O’Brien (15 points) and senior Jaxon Menough (12 points) posting solid nights offensively, but late makes from sophomore Matt Jones (10 points) and Hewlett iced the contest.

“We just owed this to coach Marlon and his wife, this is all for her. We came out here knowing what we were supposed to do, we played for her,” Hewlett said. “Even I started crying in pregame, it’s just a family over here. Not a lot of schools can really say that, but everybody cares for each other.”

McGaughy knew his team had to weather the storm versus a scrappy Mooney team that can battle back, and appreciates his players’ efforts during an emotional evening.

“Mooney is a team that never gives up. They can be down 30, they’re still going to find a way to get back into the game. With our schedule we’re used to games like this, we’re used to playing tight games. Games that are not as tight, that’s what we got to get used to, so we worked it out.”



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