BETHANY, Okla. (KFOR) – Bethany basketball players have found temporary new home courts after theirs was damaged by vandals.
A watery mess left their flooring destroyed – but they’re keeping their heads up.
For now, inside the Bethany basketball gym, you won’t hear the dribble of a ball or the cheers of the crowd.
Instead – just the sound of a saw – as crews work to clean up after some costly mischief.
“I don’t want these kids to be villainized. I want them to learn from their mistakes and to not do it again,” said Superintendent Drew Eichelberger.
He says those mistakes happened when five juveniles broke into the school on a day many resolve to be better – New Year’s Day.
“They came in and were shooting some baskets around the gym,” Eichelberger said. “Then one of them got the basketball and kicked it and it hit one of our sprinklers and busted the top off of our sprinkler, causing a flood.”
The alarms went off – but it was 30 minutes later before anyone got there – and the damage was done.
“What would have been good is if they would have called their parents or called 911 or called anybody and said hey we made a bad choice and now we’ve got a flooded gym – but they just took off – which they’re kids – and I get that,” said Eichelberger.
So for the remainder of the season, the Bethany middle and high school basketball teams have relied on nearby schools for places to practice and play.
“All the local schools and communities have been great to help us out and lend their facilities to us,” Eichelberger said. “The sad part, for our kids, is we’ve got kids who won’t get to experience senior night or homecoming in our home gym.”
The school is pressing charges against the kids responsible – a tough lesson – but one they say is necessary.
“I have a long-held belief that all kids are good – but some – myself included -even good kids – make some bad choices over time and you pay consequences for those choices so there will be consequences for these kids,” said Eichelberger.
Insurance is covering the cost of repairs.
At the earliest, those will be complete in 6-8 weeks – but it could take until the end of the school year.
The seniors will have their senior nights – but they will likely be at SNU or Putnam City.