A Catholic high school basketball team in Kernersville, North Carolina played one game in 2014 that no one who witnessed it will ever forget.
Bishop McGuiness High School basketball coach Josh Thompson had prepared his players for a game against Mount Airy High School, their ultimate rival, with an unusual exercise—but he had no idea it would completely change the fate of the game.
Thompson gave his basketball team an old ball and a gold Sharpie and instructed them to write down one person they’d like to dedicate the game to.
“Grandpa,” “Uncle Mike,” and parents “Terri + Tom” covered the surface of the rubber ball.
When it was Spencer Wilson’s turn, holding that basketball in his hands meant a whole lot to him.
Spencer knew exactly who he would dedicate that game to: his friend Josh Rominger.
The two high school students were best friends who shared a special bond. Both Spencer and Josh had cancer—but while Spencer beat his, Josh didn’t. He lost the battle and passed away nine months previously.
Still, Spencer thought of his friend every single day. So when he held that basketball and gold Sharpie in his hands, he knew exactly who he would be playing for—and that made this basketball game particularly special.
“I will remember this game for the rest of my life,” said one player on the court that day.
It was a game that every player on that basketball team would never forget.
“His joy illuminated the room, and it was always apparent to me that he was special,” Spencer wrote in a letter to Josh’s mom, Denna Rominger, telling her about the upcoming game and that he had dedicated it to her son, who had meant so much to him.
“Just wanted to let you know the impact your son has on my life still to this day. I will never forget him. Play for Josh.”
Rominger said she “read it and cried.”
“They just had that bond. Nobody else knew how Josh felt except for Spencer.”
On the night of the big game, it wasn’t looking good for Bishop McGuiness.
That evening, it was a nerve-wrackingly close game, but Spencer kept Josh in his mind throughout the entire night.
“During timeouts, when we touched the ball, I found where I wrote ‘Josh,’ and I looked for that,” Spencer says. “Put my hand on it every single time.”
Mount Airy High School was winning by one point, and there were only two seconds left on the clock—with the ball in the hands of a rival player at the free-throw line.
But then a miracle happened.
“Rebound comes down to Gardner, leads it ahead to Wilson, he’s going to lob it up from 3/4 court,” the announcer said. “That’s got a shot — it’s good! Oh my goodness! Spencer Wilson from 50 feet out wins the game for the Villains!”
Spencer scored a 50-foot shot right in the nick of time and won the game for Bishop. It was a moment that went down in High School basketball history.
“I still can’t believe that even happened,” one player said of the game. “I thought there was no one that could stop us,” another added.
Everyone hailed Spencer a hero that night, but those on the Bishop McGuiness team knew that he wasn’t the only one they needed to thank.
Many believed Spencer’s friend Josh was looking down on them that day.