Friendship crosses team lines in Bedford County playoff game

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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) -- The sound of high-tops scuffing the floor, and players lining up to practice shots and rebounds are all familiar scenes in gymnasiums across the country.

But on Monday night in Bedford County, something special happened. Friendship crossed team lines during an important playoff game.

David Johnson, No. 15, has been hitting the hardwood for six years. The ninth grader is on the autism spectrum, and hadn't scored this season, up until this week.

Johnson's Bedford Rockets were up by about 20 points, with less than two minutes on the board. That's when his friend Austin St. Clair, from the opposing team, saw the chance to help his friend score in a playoff game.

The players bounced the ball to Johnson, and the excitement grew with each throw. On his seventh try, he scored and the crowd went wild.

"I felt really proud of myself to make that shot," Johnson said.

His friend was just as thrilled.

"It was joy in my heart. I was just so excited for him. Everybody in the crowd was chanting," St. Clair said.

Johnson's mom was at the game. His father heard the entire play-by-play from his wife.

They said David likes being on the team, and being part of the camaraderie.

Johnson's team feeds him the ball, but they are also feeding him encouragement.

"It made me think that as adults we can learn a lot from our children about what it's like to help one another out regardless of whose side you're on, who's team you're on," Johnson's father said.

Johnson says he felt like he passed the "basketball exam," and he had a message for his teammates and friends.

"Thank you. Because…they are great teams to work with."

David and the Bedford Rockets had another game on Tuesday night and they won, beating the Moneta Mavericks 47-41. They have another playoff game this Saturday.