HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

Leander ISD honors Myles Hutcheson at Vista Ridge basketball game

In honor of Hutcheson’s number, the first 24 seconds of the game were played in silence

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Basketball is just a game, but Wednesday night showed just how much Myles Hutcheson used the sport to reach others.

Days after the Vista Ridge junior passed away in a car accident on his way to school, the entire away side of the court was packed to the rafters at McNeil High School where the Rangers took on the Mavericks in District 13-6A play.

Vista Ridge started the game with four players on the court, and in honor of Hutcheson's number, the first 24 seconds of the game were played in silence before the game ball was presented to his parents.

"Tonight was surreal," head coach Clint Anderson said. "Just the community and the entire district coming out town honor Myles is just a tribute to what type of kid he was and how many people he actually reached out to and how many people actually really knew him."

Athletes, students, coaches, and faculty from every Leander ISD high school were at the game and everyone in attendance wore a t-shirt with his name and number or the hashtag #LLM, for ‘Live Like Myles,' on it.

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The 17-year-old student went off the road and crashed into a tree on Brushy Creek Road early Monday morning. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused his car to swerve off the road. 

McNeil won Wednesday's district opener 58-50 in overtime. Vista Ridge trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter but rallied late before Braedyn Dawes hit a floater at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Jaxson Shores led the Rangers with 16 points while Dawes added 12.

"At halftime, we went in with a one point lead and I was fearful that we were going to start running on fumes and that adrenaline and intensity was going to start fade, and we did in the third quarter," Anderson said. "Somewhere deep down they dug and got the crowd back into it and fed off it and fed off each other."

But Wednesday was about more than just the result on the court, it was about honoring someone that meant so much to so many.

Hutcheson was an incoming freshman when Anderson first took the Vista Ridge job three years ago. He was a scrawny kid then and could barely bench 50 pounds. But he was dedicated before his junior season, and, helped by a growth spurt, was developing into the best shooters on the team.

He would very rarely miss two 3-pointers in a row and he was shooting about 40 percent from long range.

"Myles was by far the most pure form shooter I've ever had the opportunity to coach," Anderson said. "Everything was very mechanical, it was almost robotic. He did the same exact thing every single time. He was one of two kids in the program that had the green light and he definitely made teams pay for it."

Anderson said going forward, the recovery process for the team will be done one step at a time. 

Wednesday was the first step, the second one will come Thursday after the team attends Hutcheson's funeral and practices after school. The third will be when the Rangers face Westwood at home on Friday night.

"They've grown closer to each other and they're relying on each other," Anderson said. "Not that they didn't before, but they realized that they've got to lean on each other and help each other out. We say ‘family' after every timeout, and that's truly what we are."

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