The Centennial High School varsity basketball team practiced for the first time since the loss of a teammate. Sophomore Clayton Boen died Sunday night in a suspected drunk driving incident in northwest Bakersfield.
Ahead of a Monday free from school, Boen and two friends headed toward a neighborhood off Stockdale Highway and Renfro Road. Boen hung out of the passenger side window. As they took a turn, the momentum threw him out of the car. He died in the middle of the roadway.
The 17-year-old driver, whose name hasn’t been released because he’s a minor, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving drunk. Police also said he only had a provisional license.
Boen, 16, was one of only a handful of sophomores on Centennial High School’s varsity basketball team. Something his teammates said he worked hard for.
Teammate Kowan Miller said, “He just out hustled everybody and he had more heart than anybody else and he was just willing to work harder than you to beat you.”
THe shooting guard stood out — not just to his peers, but coaches as well.
Junior varsity basketball coach Beau Redstone said, “Coach Santi recognized right away how hard he played and the kind of toughness he brought to the team.”
While he was tough on the court, friends say he also had a lighter side.
Miller said, “He was just a great friend, always making us laugh.”
The team now working together to process the loss.
Redstone said, “It’s like losing a brother. It really is. It’s like losing a family member. You really can’t describe it in words. Once you go through it you realize how difficult it is.”
“We don’t know how to respond because we haven’t gone through this before and I hope we don’t have to ever go through it again, but we’re just taking it a day at a time and that’s all that we can do,” said Miller
The team plans to honor Boen during Wednesday night’s home game against Garces Memorial High School.