This game was not like any other the St. Joseph’s Jaguars had played before. This one was for their teammate.
The senior boys basketball team turned a regular-season matchup with the St. Peter’s Panthers into a special fundraiser and event in support of Zecharyah Jaghmohan, a Grade 12 student and hoopster who was involved in a serious car crash a few months ago.
“It’s serious injuries, so he’s been recovering at Sunnybrook (Hospital),” said St. Joseph’s principal Joe Timmins. “It’s significant for us here because he’s a well-known student (and) well networked with his peers, having played football and basketball here. Over the course of his recovery, there have been a lot of challenges, so we wanted to do something as a school community to show our support.”
One of his best friends on the team, Trey Wilson, wanted to do something big to recognize Jaghmohan for months.
“We had to do something for Zech, just to honour him, because he may not be able to play basketball again and that was his passion,” Wilson said. “This game was in honour of him, and we decided to make it a buyout, so everyone wore the shirts for Zech.”
Students bought t-shirts, each emblazoned with the words, ‘I Got You Z’ on the front. Proceeds went toward the Jaghmohan family GoFundMe page.
“This is a tribute to him,” said Timmins. “Because that’s Zech’s way of affirming something that you need from him. That’s his catch line and so the kids are all wearing that on their shirts. Instead of him getting us, we’re getting him.”
St. Joseph’s streamed the game on YouTube so Jaghmohan could watch from his hospital room. And, given the nature of the game, it was no surprise that Wilson was the best player on the floor, alternating between hitting three-point shots and dunking.”
“I had to play for my boy, man,” Wilson said. “I had to play good for him. He always loved dunking, so I had to do a few for him, because I knew he was watching at the hospital.”
Despite standing under six feet tall, dunking was a staple of Jaghmohan’s game, far before it became a common play for the much-taller Wilson.
“I hated it,” Wilson said. “He could dunk before me and I was so jealous of him (but) I made sure that I could finally do it.”
Jaghmohan was the leading scorer for the Jaguars at the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association championship last year. Now, he was getting an opportunity to see hundreds of students crammed into the gym, wearing the white shirts and making tons of noise.
“It was loud, but it was good vibes, though,” Wilson said. “It was great that everyone came out to support Z.”
The Jaguars would go on to win their final game before the winter break by a 71-45 score. But at the end of the day, it was about more than the final result for Wilson.
“It means a lot to know that everyone cares about him and cares about his recovery,” Wilson said. “It means a lot to me.”
Jaghmohan, who is still at Sunnybrook, began rehab in the new year. His tubes, including those that were initially in place to help him breathe, are gradually being removed as he continues to improve.
As of late January, Jaghmohan’s GoFundMe page had raised nearly $18,000 in support of the Barrie native.
In the photo, Jaguar students and players pose at halftime in support of Zech Jaghmohan.