Saturday’s boys’ hoops clash between Doherty and Rampart was bigger than basketball.
Despite being league rivals, when news broke that Doherty sophomore guard Schafer Reichart was battling a life-threatening illness, the Rampart community wanted to do something to let the Spartans and Reichart know they were not battling alone.
The teams and student sections decided to sport red, a tribute to Reichart’s love for Ohio State, during Saturday’s 5A/4A CSML game at Rampart. But the Rams also surprised the Doherty basketball team and coaches with custom Rampart basketball T-shirts, with Reichart’s last name and number — 13 — on the back, printed in Spartan green.
Both teams wore the T-shirts during warmups and bench players sported the number 13 throughout the game. The Doherty basketball team wore athletic tape on their wrists with "13" and "SR" written in red. Players wore red socks, and some even matched their shoes.
Among a sea of crimson, the Spartans went on to defeat Rampart 61-48 — a 13-point margin for Reichart.
“I told them our focus needed to be on us, not the scoreboard, not the officials, not the opponent — it just needs to be us,” said Doherty coach Eric Steinert. “And I thought they played really well given the circumstances.”
But as the game got underway, it was clear that one player had some extra motivation.
“Schafe has been my best friend since fourth grade,” said Doherty sophomore Brody Gish. “When I got the news, I just broke down. We all sat down as a team and we said we needed to play the best game of our season for Schafe. We’ve been kind of on the downhill end of things recently and Schafe brought us back together. I definitely feel like Schafe was still with us today.”
Gish finished with a career-high 17 points in Doherty’s win, leading the team at halftime with 13 points. In addition to red socks and shoes, Gish sported a wristband that said "Schafe strong" on his left arm.
“Brody has a lot of potential,” Steinert said. “He had one other game like this (16 points), but he was really special tonight. He’s a tough quarterback kind of kid and he played really, really well for us tonight.”
Saturday marked Doherty’s first game since Reichart became ill early this week, and the first of the season played without him. Through 14 games Reichart was second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.1 points per game.
“Schafer is one of our scorers and Brody has kind of been more of a defensive guy," Steinert said, "but I think Brody saw that we needed to step up offensively and he sure-as-heck did that.”
“Schafe has his own role,” Gish said. “Schafe is Schafe. You can’t replace Schafe. I just knew I had to go out there and do what I could do to contribute and see what happens from there.”
Doherty junior Trey Carter was second on the team in scoring with 16 points, also a career-high, followed by senior Trevor Oldervik with 11.
Rampart was led by KJ Stewart with 16 points.
Prior to the game Rampart athletic director Andy Parks spoke about coming together to support the Reichart family, and held a moment of silence to reflect or send up a prayer for Reichart.
“We learned quickly this week that there are a lot of more important things than basketball,” Parks said. “We want to make sure you know that as a community, Rampart supports you. We want to encourage you, and we are behind you. We are praying for you, our thoughts are with you and with Schafer and his family.”
After being diagnosed with Influenza A on Monday, Reichart’s condition deteriorated, turning into pneumonia and then later to myocarditis, an infection that attacks the heart’s muscles and its ability to pump blood. He was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Denver on Wednesday and quickly put on an ECMO life-support machine, which saved his life.
In the days following his transfer to Denver, Reichart remains in critical condition, but has seen miraculous improvement. He was transferred from the cardiac ICU to the pediatric ICU on Saturday, according to a post on social media.