It was going to be a typical summer afternoon in Tahlequah. A group of teenagers heading to the Illinois River to do some swimming to cool off.
Those plans changed in one tragic second.
Trinton Herron, transitioning from his sophomore to junior year at Sequoyah High School, was killed in a car crash on West Choctaw Street.
Caisen Green didn’t believe it when he got the news.
“B.J. (Leach) called me and told me that Trinton passed away,” Green recalled. “I thought he was joking; I didn’t think he was serious.”
The sobering news was in fact true. Yet, for Green, it didn’t sink for quite some time.
“For a couple of weeks, it didn’t hit me,” Green said. “But after the funeral, it really got me hard.”
Some of Herron’s football and basketball teammates helped lay his body to rest at the grave site. And Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said that was a tough moment for himself and his players.
“Everybody was there and our kids were pallbearers,” Herrin said, “and our whole team was there. It was tough but we addressed it then.”
Now nearly nine months after Herron’s passing, his basketball teammates are still paying homage to their fallen teammate. The Indians are wearing socks and shirts under their jerseys that include Herron’s initials and his number, 21.
“He’s in the back of our minds all the time, because he was a big part of building our success,” Herrin said. “And we never will forget that.”
It was during the playoffs last season that Herron helped pave the way for Sequoyah to make the Class 3A state tournament. In the regional semifinals at Beggs, Herron drained a free throw with two-tenths of a second left to send Sequoyah to a 57-56 win over Beggs. The Indians went on to claim regional and area championships and made it to the state semifinals before a season-ending loss to Okemah.
“Chances are we wouldn’t be where we are today without him hitting that shot,” Herrin said. “That was the boost that pushed us on our playoff run last year, because if we drop that game who knows if we make the state tournament. That was a huge moment in Sequoyah basketball.”
Now Green and Co. want to add to Sequoyah basketball lore, especially after Herron’s prognostication last year.
“He told us all that we were going to win state this upcoming year,” Green said. “We just want to try and do that for him.”