SPOKANE, Wash. - State B competitors and fans have descended upon the Spokane Arena for the state competition, but one team isn't just fighting for the championship title. They're also playing for a coach who is in the middle of his battle with cancer.
Getting to the court Wednesday wasn't an easy task for Odessa Assistant Coach Larry Weber.
"It wouldn't feel right if I weren't here to be there for them and support them as the way they've been supporting me through my challenge," Weber said.
Wednesday morning, Weber was in a hospital chair receiving chemotherapy. Hours later, he was at the arena coaching the Odessa boys basketball team. And his commitment to this team doesn't go unnoticed.
"It shows some persistence and it's tough for him," said player Ryan Moffet. "I know he likes being here, it means a lot."
The State B tournament has always been a big part of Weber's life. His father coached him as a player, now he's coaching his son who plays for Odessa.
Community members turned out to cheer on the team and stand behind a coach who means more than just a state title.
"He's like the heart of our community. Everyone knows him, he's involved in everything, so when we found out, everyone in the community was crushed," said Zoe Clark who has a younger brother on the team.
While Weber was focused on his players, Wednesday also marked a somber anniversary. His father died 24 years ago to the date.
"He died of cancer March 1, 1993, and the first thing I did after he died was my brother and I came here and watched State B basketball," Weber said.
Now the lessons he learned from his dad, he's passing onto his players.
"Work every day, never give up and boxing out is a big thing," said Moffet.
Odessa won Wednesday's game, and teammates are hoping they can make it all the way to Saturday's championship game.
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