STOUGHTON (CBS) – What would typically be an electric opening basketball game at Stoughton High School instead started with several moments of somber silence.
This is the first basketball game without would-be captain David Bell. He and three other students were killed in a horrific car crash in May in East Bridgewater.
David Bell, Christopher Desir, Eryck Sarblah, and Nicholas Joyce were all killed from the crash on May 19.
“It was awful,” said Felicia Baptista, a former student who has been active in keeping the boys’ memories alive. “Like whatever you’re picturing in your head, it was like 1000 times worse than that.”
The driver and only survivor, 18-year-old Naiquan Hamilton, faces multiple criminal charges. Prosecutors say he was high on marijuana products and was speeding when the crash occurred.
The Stoughton High School Community honored Bell and Joyce at the Friday night basketball game. Bell would’ve been a starter this year, and Joyce was on the team his freshman year.
Bell’s parents could not be at the game but sent a letter that was read before tip-off to the packed crowd. “Whatever sport, David considered his teammates brothers,” it said. “With that said, I ask you all to unite as brothers.”
Nicholas Joyce’s family was then presented with his framed jersey. “One day at a time,” his father said at the microphone. He then thanked the town for its support.
“Ups and downs all year. Probably more downs than ups, but moments like this [game] keep us all up,” Rich Joyce told WBZ. He is Nicholas’ oldest brother. He said he misses his brother’s energy, and “not only his presence but his smile.” He hopes kids at the high school will learn from his brother’s death. “I hope that they learn to be safe and careful. I know they’re all young, but you can live life and be responsible. I just want all of the students to be accountable to one another.”
The Stoughton High Athletic Director told WBZ the beginning of the school year has been “really difficult” without the four boys in school. “I think it’s evident that the kids we lost just had such a huge impact on everyone,” Ryan Donahue said.
Students sold bracelets, ribbons, and t-shirts with designs of the boys’ faces to the crowd. All profits from the game will be donated to a scholarship fund set up in the boys’ memory.