Sportsmanship goes a long way between rivals Red Devils and Tigers

Princeton senior Jimmy Starkey gets a hand shake and hug from Hall senior Max Bryant. Starkey, who sustained a season-ending knee surgery in the first game of the year, drew the Senior Night start.

A little sportsmanship can go a long way, especially between long time rivals.

Five of the Princeton seniors gave up their starting spot on Senior Night in Friday’s game with rival Hall to classmate Jimmy Starkey, who had a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year, so he could take place in the starting introductions one time before he graduates. It was his second knee injury in high school.

The visiting Red Devils took it from there.

Hall coach Mike Filippini arranged with PHS coach Jason Smith to allow Starkey to take part in the center jump. Starkey is unable to jump, so Hall’s Braden Curran tipped the ball to teammate Max Bryant, who purposely walked the ball over to the official for a travel violation and then gave Starkey, who is a friend, a hug.

“It means a lot to have coach Filippini and players to allow that to happen. It means a lot to me,” Starkey said.

Starkey said having his teammates give up a starting spot meant a lot also.

“They were cool about it. I work hard. They work hard. I like how they look after me,” he said.

Smith said all of his seniors were on board with the plan.

“They’re unselfish, but that proves it tonight just by starting Jimmy,” Smith said. “I think he deserves it as much time and effort he’s put in our program. To get his name mentioned one time on his home court meant the world to him. I’m sure it meant the world to his teammates.

“Just to see the smile on his face said it all. As much pain and agony he’s been through with his injuries. Hats off to coach Filippini for letting us do that. He’s a great guy. I have the utmost respect for him. I don’t like losing to him though.”

Filippini was in on the plan from the start and sought out this reporter ahead of time to be able to capture the moment on video.

“I just told Jim (Starkey’s dad) that was a crappy way to end your season like that,” he said. “He at least got his name called in the starting lineup. Jimmy’s a good kid. Comes from a good family. Both Jim and his brother played at Hall and were really good players.”

Filippini was OK with Jim Starkey sending his son to rival Princeton, but joked they tried to recruit him when he was younger.

Hall won the game (66-63), but the Red Devils and Tigers won the night.

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at

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