CEMENT — As Seth Martin's mother, Lisa Kinder, and her family entered the Cement High School gym Thursday night, the crowd fell silent.
Warm-ups for the girls basketball game between Cement and Indiahoma stopped. Some confusion even set in.
The entire gym focused for more than two silent minutes on the family of Martin, who collapsed in the third quarter of the Cement boys game Tuesday night and later died due to an unknown heart condition.
It was a sign of respect that was completely unplanned on an emotional night dedicated to Martin's memory.
“I was a little bit nervous, and I'm proud of my town for showing up tonight and showing some respect for Seth and his family,” said Heather Peters, a longtime family friend and school board member. “I was sad, though, because it brings back all those memories of what happened that night. A lot of those people are here tonight that were here (Tuesday) night, so it's difficult to be here.”
Martin's funeral is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday in the Cement Auditorium.
But Thursday was a chance to honor the 15-year-old freshman around the sport he loved, and that's how his family wanted it to be.
“(We) talked to the family, found out if they had a preference of what we did for these ballgames and (Kinder) was very adamant that she wanted us to play,” Cement superintendent Danny Pittman said. “They want to play for Seth, they want to play for the family.
“I don't really know that I wanted to play, but the kids wanted to.”
Cement fans wore black as part of a blackout. Players wore armbands with Seth's No. 3. Multiple signs of respect were displayed for his family.
A moment of silence was held before the girls game. The crowd even stood at halftime of the boys game for nearly five minutes, holding three fingers in the air before the Bulldogs finished off a 58-27 victory.
“He meant so much to everybody in this gym, that was just natural,” Cement senior captain Talon Reynolds said after helping present game balls to Martin's parents. “He impacted our lives too much not to give him that respect.”
The respect filtered in from athletes in the nearby communities of Fletcher and Cyril. They attended the games Thursday night, and all hugged Martin's family.
For the small town in southwest Oklahoma, this started the healing process. But more importantly, the love for Martin was put on display.
“That's what Seth means to these people,” Cement boys basketball coach Michael Wynne said. “This is not fake. None of this was fake. These kids and these grown-ups and these kids from other schools, everyone in this gym knew Seth Martin and loved him like a brother or their own son. It's just unbelievable.”