Orcas basketball team forfeits but has a victory for a lifetime

The team at Orcas Christian School forfeited a playoff game and ended its season for a higher purpose. (Photo: KOMO News)

ORCAS, ISLAND, Wash. -- A boys basketball team on Orcas Island is learning that winning isn't everything.

The team recently decided to forfeit a playoff game, which ended its season, and it was all to help a teammate and his family.

"I was kind of speechless," said Corey Aragon, who is captain of the Orcas Christian School's basketball team.

Aragon's father, Robert, suffered a stroke last spring, and that's when doctors discovered a hole in his heart that would later require surgery. It turned out, the operation was scheduled the same day as Corey's playoff game. If the Saints won, they'd move on; if they lost, the season was done.

"I care about my team a lot. I care about my Dad," said Aragon.

Despite everything going on, Corey decided to make the playoff game, which was going to be held in Bellingham.

The team was on the ferry to Anacortes when Coach Ryan Davis realized that Corey seemed a little quiet.

"I asked him ...'Were do you want to be?' I said 'Do you want to be here with the team or do you want to be with your family and your father?' And he said 'Well, I'll play the game,'" recalled Orcas Christian Coach Ryan Davis.

Davis asked Corey again what he really wanted to do, and that's when Aragon changed his answer-- he wanted to be with his dad.

“The team didn't even hesitate, and they unanimously said 'Let's take Corey down.' And I said 'That means we forfeit, and our season is over' and they said 'That's OK,'" said Davis.

When the team got off the ferry in Anacortes, their bus headed south for Seattle.

The players hugged Corey goodbye at the hospital and left him with family.

"If we had gone and played the game, then in five years we probably would have forgotten the game or whatever," said teammate and co-captain Lucien Anderson. "Doing what we did, we're going to remember that moment forever.”

Family said Robert Aragon's surgery was successful, but he still has a long road to recovery. He has a heart checkup in Seattle in six months, and he’s also going through speech therapy due to the stroke.

Robert Aragon is proud of his son's team for their decision, and so is Davis.

"Corey is the kind of player who gives everything he’s got for his team, and even though it ended our season I was very proud of the decision that the guys made to give up what they’ve been working for for one of their other players," said Davis.

For Corey, it's all been a learning lesson, too.

“I learned that it's not about winning,” said Corey Aragon. “I love winning, but staying together and doing what's best is good.”

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