Kendal Sanders is seen here for the Berrendo 7th grade basketball team. CCSR Photo Tom A. Ruiz
By Tom Ruiz
The sounds of the bouncing of basketballs, cheers and giggles and a 7th grade basketball game returned to the Berrendo Middle School Gym on Saturday. And so did 7th grader Kendal Sanders who was injured by gunfire at the gym from a fellow classmate on Jan. 14th. Kendal was named the honorary official before the game complete with an official’s shirt and whistle.
Nickie Portillo, Kendal’s mom said returning to BMS was good for her daughter.
“It was nice to be here and for her to see her friends and for support and to get her back into the school,” Portillo said.
As halftime approached the BMS cheerleaders came to the bleachers to greet Kendal and gentlyKendal Sanders is seen here with the real officials. CCSR Photo Tom A. Ruiz embraced her as Kendal is still recovering from surgery and her injuries are still very sensitive. It’s the main reason that she will be home schooled for the rest of the year and return for her eighth grade year in August.
Seeing her classmates again made Kendal smile from ear to ear.
“She wants things to be as normal as possible and that’s what she’s trying to do for herself,” said Portillo.
The Berrendo Bulldogs also were glad to be back on their home floor. They hosted Artesia and romped them to the tune of 54-21. High pointscorer was Ty Villareal with 21 points. Berrendo held a 27-12 lead at the half. It was in the third quarter that they began to pull away from Artesia. They began the third quarter by forcing several Artesia turnovers and went on a 12-0 run and never looked back.
“We’ve been working on our trap defense. The first couple of games didn’t work out so well. We worked out some kinks and moved some positions around and a lot of it was just being patient,” said head coach Mike Guerrero.
“It was real important to be back in the gym, there is a lot of pride here.” Guerrero added, “It was good to see Kendal back, she is very resilient, she is very strong, I was very glad to see her.”
RISD Superintendent Tom Burris commented after the game.
“We had a great day. Kendal was our honorary official and I think that was probably the only official’s team in the state today that got a standing ovation today,” Burris said with a smile.