Every basketball game had been a family affair for Kyle Green.
This one was different.
Green played a typical game as Camden Catholic opened the boys' basketball season with a 61-38 victory over Cherry Hill West on Friday night.
The 6-foot-5 senior, who has signed with Temple, went for 21 points and 14 rebounds and played with his usual mix of smarts and scrappiness.
"This was a great start for us," Green said.
It was a big night for the Irish, as their backcourt of juniors Tom Organ (15 points) and Rob Brosh (eight points, five assists) made impressive starting debuts, as did sophomore forward Brendan Crawford (six points, seven rebounds).
Green was Green: rebounding in traffic, racing out on the fastbreak, beating double teams with sharp passes to open teammates.
He has done it for years.
This time was different.
This was the first game that Green played since the death of his grandmother, Anita McNutt, who probably was Camden Catholic's most devoted fan last season.
"She used to sit through freshman, JV, and varsity games every night," Green said. "Matt [his brother, an Irish sophomore] played freshman and JV, so she would be there for hours. She loved it."
Kyle Green's success springs from nature and nurture. His parents, Trish and Bill, were top players from basketball families, so he has the genes. He has worked at his game for countless hours.
But he also has benefited from a support system that has stationed members of both families and lots of friends in the stands at every game for most of his life.
He couldn't help but notice the woman who wasn't there in the first game of his senior season.
"She used to sit in a fold-up chair in the same spot, and I kept looking over and she wasn't there," Green said of his grandmother, 78, who died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia.
Green and his brother wrote their grandmother's initials, "AJM," on their sneakers when she first became seriously ill. Their teammates followed suit.
"That means so much to us," Green said.
This game was different for another reason: It marked the first time that Kyle and Matt Green played in the same game for the same team.
Matt Green replaced his brother with 1 minute, 27 seconds remaining in the game. Fourteen seconds later, Matt Green took a charge. He also generated a hoop and an assist.
"It's great for us to be together for my last season," Green said.
Cherry Hill West 8 6 15 9 – 38
Camden Catholic 21 12 13 15 – 61
CHW: Rodney Williams 10, Sean Mullarkey 7, Will Plenty 12, Mike Faust 1, Ey Olarte 5, Curtis Sumpter 3.
CC: Kyle Green 21, Rob Brosh 8, Tom Organ 15, Brendan Crawford 6, Brian Matera 5, Matt Green 2, Jake Johnson 2, Jim Robinson 2.
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