On Sunday, Feb. 26, Pembroke (N.H.) Academy freshman Brad Rhoades lost his mother Kristin in a snowmobile accident. On March 1, he completed a nearly unthinkable, Chris Paul-like tribute: Scoring one point for every year of his mother's life.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Rhoades, whose pictures here were shared by New Hampshire photographer Bruce Klink, was left with just one junior varsity basketball game in his freshman season to accomplish his 46-point feat. That game, against Bishop Brady (N.H.) High, was scheduled for just two days after his mother's death. While coaches told Rhoades he could sit out the season finale, the teen insisted on playing.
Of course, Rhoades didn't just play, he attacked the basket with aggression, racking up 27 points in the game's first half. Completely emotionally taxed, he spent much of the halftime break on the team's bench, holding his sister and crying.
That's when his sister, Brittany, gave Rhoades the lift he needed.
"She kept telling me 'You can do it, you can do it. Mom is here with you,'" Brad Rhoades told the Union Leader.
Reinvigorated, Rhoades told his teammates and coaches of his plan to score 46 points just before they returned to the court. With plenty of supporting assists, he began launching up threes, hitting a hot streak and scoring his 46th point with two minutes remaining.
As soon as he hit the milestone, Rhoades ran to his father, who stood besides the stands at all of his son's games. Leaping into his arms in a cathartic release, the Rhoades turned to realize that the entire gym, with fans of both Pembroke and Bishop Brady, were giving the family a standing ovation.
"He almost knocked me into the wall," [Brad's father] Frank Rhoades said. "And then this place exploded. It was pretty special."
Rhoades' inspiring tribute did more than just leave a lasting memorial for his mother, it also inspired one family acquaintance to start a unique college fund for the two Rhoades children. John Clarke, the athletic director at Plymouth State University, is asking those who come across the story to donate $46 -- $1 for each year of Kristin Rhoades' life -- to the Rhoades Family College Fund, which he set up following her passing last week. Contributions can be sent to Anheuser-Busch Employee Credit Union, 3 Mound Court, Suite 3A, Merrimack, NH, 03054-4412.
While Brad Rhoades might not have another 46-point game in 2011, donations to the fund will help ensure that he does have a bright future, one that will include cameos during the Pembroke Academy varsity team's playoff run. For as long as that team is alive in the postseason, Rhoades is confident that his mother will be there, too.
"She was definitely right there beside me, all the way," Rhoades told the Union Leader.
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