When Beau Howell, a high school freshman playing on his school’s varsity basketball team, entered in the final minutes of a championship game, it was not just his teammates but also his opponents who were throwing him the ball to score.
Howell, who has autism, scored his first basket of the season Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI title game in Santa Ana, Calif., that his school, Trinity Classical Academy, went on to win.
Howell scored after the opposing team, Desert Chapel High School, called a timeout to rethink their strategy and then proceeded to have their players give Howell the rebounds and assists for his three attempted shots, the third of which he nailed.
“We all knew what was going on for Beau and it took them a few minutes to realize that was something was going on,” Trinity’s head of school, Liz Caddow, told GoodMorningAmerica.com.
“Anytime Beau gets in the game, the boys just feed him the ball,” she said. “Desert Chapel called a timeout and orchestrated it so that in the last few minutes of the game, they gave the ball back to Beau.”
Trinity was up by more than 20 points when Beau was put into the game and went on to win the championship, their first in school history, by a score of 77-52.
Caddow says that large margin of victory was exactly the goal that Beau’s teammates had in mind before they even hit the court.
“That was one of their goals on Saturday, to get the score to a certain place so Beau could get in the game,” Caddow said, also noting that Beau had come in off the bench in the final minutes of nine previous games where the game had already been decided.
Beau was flanked by his teammates after his score and celebrated by a packed crowd in the stands who cheered, “Beau, Beau, Beau.”
“It was just such an example of goodness displayed,” said Caddow.
“He was very excited and encouraged,” she said of Beau, who was attending class and not available for comment. “Everyone was taking pictures.”
The championship game, including Beau’s basket, was broadcast online by the NFSH Network, which covers high school athletics. The YouTube video showing the two teams’ sportsmanship has more than 100,000 views.