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Neuse Charter, Lee Christian honor Kobe Bryant, Gigi, seven other victims

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SMITHFIELD — It was a somber rainy night in Johnston County just a day after basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others passed away in a fatal helicopter crash. But there was basketball games for Neuse Charter to play regardless of the awful circumstances. 

Before the game, the Cougars remembered the nine people’s death with a moment of silence. Then on the court, Neuse Charter and Lee Christian both took 10-second violations before the game began in honor of Bryant who wore No. 10 for the Team USA basketball team in the Olympics. It was then just a regular Monday night game where the Cougars won the game, 80-34, to get back to 8-8. 

In the midst of winning, the Cougars put out a No. 24 jersey — the number Bryant wore for the last ten years of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers — at the end of the bench as another tribute. Neuse Charter senior Jacob Denton led all scorers with 18 points. Cougars freshman Silas Tucker put in 16 points as well. Senior Salah Tucker also added in 14 points.

The Neuse Charter girls basketball team also played and dropped to 7-3 with a loss to Lee Christian, 46-44. Freshman guard Anna Taylor led the Cougars with 17 points.

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January 2020