A grieving Mitchell High School community is getting a big boost. Well, actually two.
When Doherty hosts Palmer in a boys' and girls' basketball doubleheader on Saturday, the longtime District 11 rivals will renew a spirited rivalry that packs the house no matter the win-loss records.
And that packed house will share something in common this time. Something bigger than basketball.
The schools have joined forces to support the family of Cyprian "Cyp" Cisneros, a Mitchell student who died Tuesday, six days after being hit by a car while walking to school.
"This is a lot bigger than a basketball game," Doherty senior Emmanuel Burleson said. "In the end, we might not remember the score of the game. We will remember that Doherty and Palmer came together as rivals to help a family. It's more about doing good things for each other."
The creation of orange T-shirts, the brainchild of Doherty assistant principal Jennie Horner - a former Mitchell teacher - has galvanized these longtime rivals in a fundraising effort for the Cisneros family.
The first 700 shirts sold out quickly. More are on the way, set to arrive at the business offices at Doherty, Palmer and Mitchell on Friday. They also will be available for purchase at Saturday's games.
According to Doherty athletic director Chris Noll, upwards of 2,000 shirts have been made. They cost $10, with all proceeds benefitting the Cisneros family.
"I am just so overwhelmed with excitement to go out and come together with Doherty and play for him," Palmer senior Joey Stone said. "We're all in this together. It feels great to be able to do something bigger than the game we play."
It's not the first time Doherty and Palmer have stepped up for friends in need.
On Jan. 13 at the first Doherty-Palmer basketball doubleheader, many in Palmer's gym donned pink T-shirts to support a Palmer student suffering from brain cancer. Following the death of Doherty assistant football coach Jeff Lobato in a Dec. 21, 2015, automobile crash, the two schools packed the Spartans' bleachers in a massive show of unity.
But this might be the first unified effort for a student who didn't attend either school.
"The community is coming to Doherty for a huge rivalry game to support another district school," said longtime Mitchell athletic director Brett Williams. "That's the amazing thing about our schools and our D11 community."