The passing of Ryse Williams shocked the Redondo basketball family last summer.
The senior, who was headed to LMU, was the heart and soul of the Redondo basketball program for four years.
Monday night, the current Sea Hawks returned to basketball in their opening game of the newly named Ryse Williams Pacific Shores Tournament, but after an emotional pregame ceremony honoring Williams.
“We talked about it all week,” Redondo coach Ali Parvaz said. “Already when you play your first game, there’s going to be jitters, no matter what and then you put this dedication to Ryse … he meant so much to our program, so it was definitely emotional.
“I talked to the guys and said, ‘It will be OK to be emotional, if you want to cry, cry, if you want to laugh, you can laugh, whatever your feelings are that’s what you’ve got to go with.’”
Former teammates and coaches stood with the current Sea Hawks as athletic director Andy Saltsman spoke about Williams to the crowd during the pregame ceremony. Williams’ father, mother and sister were eventually presented with a bouquet of flowers.
Williams’ No. 0 jersey, which he wore since his freshman year, will never be worn again.
“He represented everything that this program is about,” Saltsman said. “Dedication, teamwork, leadership and most importantly heart.”
After the emotional ceremony, the Sea Hawks still had a game to play. Chimeze Maduno opened the game with an emphatic dunk over a Lynwood defender and they were off and running.
“After the ball went up, and Chimeze dunks on that first guy, I think after that, we were just playing a basketball game,” Parvaz said.”
Lynwood led early, but Redondo took the lead for good thanks to an 11-0 run.
The Sea Hawks (1-0) led by 11 at halftime and cruised home for the 85-55 victory over Lynwood.
Redondo will face Mayfair at 6:30 p.m. in one of the quarterfinals.
Zekiah Lovett didn’t play in the first half, but had a big second half, scoring 19. Lovett knew Williams for two years, but even in that, lessons were surely learned.
“I just wanted to come out and play hard for him,” Lovett said. “We all channeled our emotions and Ryse would have wanted us to go out there and play hard.
“I learned from him not to quit, play hard and never give up. Just be fearless.”
Quinn Collins had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Redondo.