The Rebels Drake Golden reached 1,000 points on a very special night


The Crestview community comes out to lend a helping hand to the Golden family

NEW WATERFORD, OHIO (WKBN) – Friday night in the Crestview Rebel gym, history was made.  But perhaps more importantly, a family had an opportunity to experience some joy in a year that has been marked by some uncertainty and struggles.

The Rebels junior center Drake Golden reached a milestone only a select few players have accomplished.  That accolade was reaching the 1,000 career point total, doing it in just his third year of varsity ball.

But it wasn’t just reaching that plateau that was so special for the Golden family, it also came on a night that the Crestview community lent them a helping hand.  The game was the host of a fundraiser through the sale of t-shirts and a Chinese auction to help pay for medical expenses for the family.

Drake’s younger sister Ella, a freshman, was diagnosed with an illness called PANDA, a very serious side effect from the strep virus causing extreme depression, anxiety and a number of other ailments.  Treatments are expensive and not covered by medical insurance.

“It was actually a year ago that she was diagnosed with the disease.  Basically, it’s an infection in the brain that causes swelling and can be different in every person.  She has anxiety and struggles with different things like that,” Drake explained.

“Ella was in our girl’s basketball program here and a very good basketball player herself.  We have hopes and prayers that she will be able to get back and play here at Crestview,” Rebels coach Rick Gates added.

“I prayed on it hard,” Drake admitted.  “Once I knew we were going to do it (fundraiser) and it lined up where I was points-wise, I really wanted to get it because it’s the next to last home game and getting it for her.  I have dedicated this season to her, so it was really special.  We are close.”

For Drake, the 1,000 point mark is the result of a lot of hard work in the gym and on the court.  He has spent many, many extra hours trying to improve himself both physically and on the court.

“Drake is one of those kids that there are very few players like him. He works so hard on and off the floor.  He puts in a lot of time in the off-season to be a good player, but he takes it up a step above that,” Gates said.

“Off-season is the biggest thing for me,” Drake described his priorities.  “I’m always getting in and going to the gym whenever I can.  I went to the weight room a lot this summer.  We even put a court into our back yard so I’m always doing stuff.”

“For instance, we told him we thought he needed to be more physical.  So he enrolled in a gym in Columbiana and weight lifted here at the school and he thickened up.  He worked probably three of four days a week in the weight room.  So he took something that may have been a weakness of his and really turned it around.  He just loves basketball,” Gates described Drake’s hard working ethic.

“He’s one of the kids that there are few who will call the coaches and say, ‘hey, can you get me in the gym for some extra (practice)’.  We gladly come up and open the gym and put the shooting machine up so he gets an extra half an hour to an hour shooting.  He’s just that type of kid,” Gates added.

Drake is the son of Ann and Joe Golden who both also graduated from Crestview.  He is hoping to continue his basketball career in college and plans to go into physical therapy or occupational therapy, and eventually, he wants to get into coaching after his own playing days.

But last Friday, the whole Golden family had the pleasure of seeing Drake reach a goal that their son has had since the first day of basketball practice of his freshman year.

“I hugged my dad first and he was crying.  I couldn’t stop smiling because he’s my best friend and he was just so happy.  And then, my mom almost fell trying to get to me as we hugged and she was crying too,” Drake described the moment.

“It didn’t hit me at first,” He said of the scene when he broke the mark in the third quarter of their game with Champion Friday night.  “I knew I got it as soon as I made it.  But then I just kind of stood there and my teammates just jumped on me.  Then I started yelling with them.”

“It had us actually nervous and pumped up at the same time,” Gates admitted about the whole experience.  “We wanted it for him so badly.  It was exciting as a coach because there are just so few that reach that mark.  To be honest, I think we’re all a little relieved that he got it and now we can kind of just focus ahead now.”

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