Newcastle's Sara Hamilton sinks one last shot dedicated to her brother

HOOP DREAMS -- It was an ending that resembled a Hollywood script for Hamilton, who was playing just one day after the death of her brother Matthew.
by Jacob Unruh Modified: January 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014

NEWCASTLE — Sara Hamilton didn't understand what was happening, but she shot the 3-pointer anyway.

She missed, only to shoot it again.

And again.

Then first-year Newcastle basketball coach Brett Sanders called timeout with time left on Tuesday, Dec. 17, for one final shot against conference rival Purcell before explaining his reasoning to the senior sharpshooter.

“That goal is that big and this is for your brother,” Sanders told her in the huddle, using his arms to form a hoop. “You get out there and make that shot for your brother.”

On the fourth attempt, with the Newcastle crowd on its feet cheering and crying, Hamilton made the 3-pointer before collapsing with emotion on the court.

It was an ending that resembled a Hollywood script for Hamilton, who was playing just one day after the death of her 23-year-old brother Matthew in a car wreck.

“It was the most beautiful moment,” Hamilton said. “That's like in a movie, kind of like a little Christmas story that had happened. It's something you're never going to forget.”

Hamilton and her family have since tried to rally around basketball, using the game they love to help ease the pain. They will continue to do so Friday, when the 18th-ranked Racers host No. 15 Bethany.

It hasn't been easy, although one touching moment brought a bright light to the family.

‘THE TOWN FAVORITE'

Matthew Hamilton played basketball and football at Newcastle. But he was more interested in the opposite sex than a rebound.

“Matthew is the one who didn't care about sports very much, and he was the biggest and so athletic,” Sara said. “He was too girl crazy for that.”

Either way, the small town loved the 6-foot-5 Hamilton.

“He was the town favorite because he could make you laugh,” Sara said.

And he certainly did that with Sara, his only sister among three siblings.

She still watches a video on her phone of them spending a two-hour drive to Tonkawa to visit Northern Oklahoma Junior College over the summer. The entire time they sang and screamed songs together.

So when news of his death in a single-car accident, while returning from a ski trip in New Mexico, came on Monday, Dec. 16, Sara was devastated.

“It's been hard not seeing him in the stands, because he was the one who always started the chants,” she said. “Just not hearing his voice in the stands, that's probably what is the hardest. Just knowing he's not there.”


by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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