EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – As the village of East Palestine recovers, the boys’ high school basketball team played its last home game of the season. On Friday, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted had some words of encouragement for East Palestine High School’s boys and girls teams.
Husted warmed up by practicing with the girls’ basketball team.
“Maya, their top player, and I were playing against each other. She was giving me a… she was tough on me. She’s good, she’s quick,” Husted said.
He also had a free throw competition with a member of the boys’ team before their big game against Wellsville.
“It’s senior night for them, big deal for them. It’s one of those things they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. I just told them, look, you just got to care about each other. You got to lock in and play as a team,” Husted said.
The lieutenant governor says he wanted to encourage the athletes.
“I get the sense that they’re just ready to get their lives back to normal and that they just want to play basketball and be kids,” Husted said.
Some of the seniors say it makes them feel really good to know that so many people are supporting the village. They’re excited to try and get back to their normal lives.
“Having the lieutenant governor and having these people from the state here kind of reassures me that everything will be alright, eventually. It may not be right now but it will be and there’s certain things we can’t control, and that stuff, the certain things, that’s up to them. We can’t control that. So I just worry about playing basketball and living my life and making sure everyone is safe,” said Ryan Rosen, Bulldogs’ point guard.
“I do feel confident in our team, that we are able to pull together and stay strong,” said Weston Jones, Bulldogs’ point guard.
“Feeling inspired. Ready to just get out there and kick some butt,” said Landon Price, Bulldogs’ post.
The boys’ team lost to Wellsville Friday night in their last regular season game. The final score was 73-38. They play next on Feb. 21 at Perry.
The girls’ team advanced to the next round of the postseason after Beachwood forfeited the game due to concerns over the derailment.
Before his visit to the basketball teams, Husted visited the train derailment site to survey the damage and check on the cleanup situation.