Column: Pittsley played with heartBrock Pittsley’s emotions overflowed into a stream of tears the moment the final buzzer sounded on Monday afternoon’s Region 7 tournament game against Heart River.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Brock Pittsley’s emotions overflowed into a stream of tears the moment the final buzzer sounded on Monday afternoon’s Region 7 tournament game against Heart River.
The 6-foot-1, 270-pound sophomore power forward was the definition of heart as he tried to help the Killdeer boys basketball team to a quarterfinal win against Heart River.
But as the seconds ticked off the clock with Heart River holding an insurmountable lead that ended up being a 63-54 victory, it was just too much for the big guy with an even bigger heart to handle.
On what might very well have been the most difficult day of his young life, Pittsley had 12 points and seven rebounds while shooting 5 of 7 from the field and was a sparkplug inside for the Cowboys.
Unbeknownst to many of the fans at Knights of Columbus Activities Center from outside of Killdeer, however, was that Pittsley was playing just hours after his father’s funeral.
David Pittsley, a man described as a one of Killdeer’s biggest sports fans, died last Thursday at age 45.
With his team’s season on the line, Brock Pittsley knew he had to play.
He said his dad would have wanted him to be on the floor.
“I had to,” he said. “I tried to play my heart out. It’s about all I can ask for.”
Pittsley got things going for the Cowboys, scoring the team’s first points to a wild reaction from the Killdeer fans.
The Killdeer student section chanted “Brock-star” after every play he made and Cowboy fans went crazy every time he touched the ball.
“I can’t put it into words,” Pittsley said with a small smile as he tried to describe the support he received from Cowboy fans.
As he walked through the handshake line after the game, Pittsley received hugs from nearly every opposing Heart River player.
He held his head on Heart River coach Greg Pruitt’s shoulders for a few moments at the end of the line. Over the past few days, Pruitt had shared with Pittsley his own experience of losing his father at a young age.
Pittsley then found his mother, Sandee, and the two wept together as tournament officials held a moment of silence to honor the memory of David Pittsley and the crowd gave Brock Pittsley a well-deserved standing ovation.
“We all wanted that win for his family so bad,” Killdeer senior Colt Mavity said, his voice breaking as he choked back tears.
Killdeer’s season may be over, but it went down fighting — just the way a certain Cowboy fan would have loved.
Monke is the Sports Editor of The Dickinson Press. E-mail him at email@example.com and visit his blog at monke.areavoices.com.