In an instant Thursday night, the Hardin Bulldogs' joy over their one-game basketball resurgence turned to pain after a freak injury to one of their players.
Freshman Cayden Redfield lost his footing while chasing a loose ball in the fourth quarter against Livingston. As Redfield tried to regain control, he slipped, landed awkwardly on the basketball and snapped his arm.
It happened right in front of the Hardin bench. Coach Andrew Round Face immediately ran over to Redfield and comforted him while stabilizing the arm. Some of Redfield's teammates looked on in horror. Others had to look away.
Redfield sat on the MetraPark floor in front of a hushed crowd for about five minutes. Eventually an athletic trainer walked him across the court and back to the locker room with a towel draped over the broken arm.
Round Face said the Bulldogs planned to use the game against Livingston as a chance to give Redfield more minutes because, even though he's only a freshman, he's been playing well, and teams hadn't seen him play much.
"I have a lot of trust in him and he's such a great kid," Round Face said afterward. "We were going to start moving him into the rotation a little bit more each game and all of that got cut short. It was just terrible.
"Just to see that happen to him is heartbreaking. That's just a freak accident and something I hadn't seen before as a coach. It's a little traumatizing and it made me sick to my stomach to see that happen to him."
Round Face said he knew something was wrong right away because he heard the break. Like his players, he saw it as soon as Redfield rolled over.
"You never really know what a bone snap sounds like, but when you hear it you know it," Round Face said.
Once Redfield left, Round Face subbed his reserves into the game to take their mind off what they'd just witnessed.
"As a coach you become close with these kids and build relationships with them," Round Face said. "To see that happen just made me sick to my stomach, and I felt so bad, and I felt like it was almost my fault for that happening.
"I'm going to feel bad for awhile and we're going to say a lot of prayers for him (Thursday night)."
Redfield was back on the team bench for the Bulldogs' 65-51 win over Sidney on Friday afternoon. He said the moment happened fast and that he didn't feel any pain until he looked at his arm. But he knew something was wrong right away.
"I remember hearing my arm snap," Redfield, who was donning a sling, said. "At first I thought it was something else, and that it was my elbow but then I checked and saw that it was my arm that snapped. It was pretty crazy."
Redfield said he will go into surgery on Monday.
Redfield saw his teammates Friday morning right before their game against Sidney. He was greeted with warm embraces.
"It was really heartwarming and I felt pretty good when I got to see them. I loved getting to see the smile on their faces," Redfield said. "Loved to watch them win like they did today. They're like brothers."