Killing Time at Shadow Mountain High

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Lori Norfolk's got her own fears. Her son has been in trouble before and, like the McCarvilles, she wonders how far the kids will go.

"I have a 10-year-old, too. Greg [Acevedo, Greg's father] has two other sons that come and visit with us. And we worry now: Are they going to come back and go after us because of this?

"You wonder how far is it going to go on?"
And no one has faith that the courts will put an end to it.

Meanwhile, on a Friday night, the Shadow Mountain basketball team bullies past a lesser opponent on its way to winning the state championship.

The team plays with the single-minded determination of teenagers, all elbows and emotions, the players' parents in the stands, bleating as if the game were mortal combat to decide the fate of the universe.

The Shadow Mountain players are good; they look good. They sport tattoos, and one starter wears his hair in a shade of Dennis Rodman yellow, a color more commonly seen on 1970s kitchen appliances. They wear their shorts low on the hips, big and baggy, and long enough to reach below their knees--gangbanger style--and whether that is intended to make them look more intimidating or whether it's just youthful imitation of their college-ball idols is anyone's guess.

Coach Jerry Conner is as mystified as anyone as to why four of his players--one varsity and three junior varsity team members--could find themselves fighting. He saw no sign of overt aggression in their demeanor. Fighting is strictly forbidden in games.

"Not only do they get sat down," Conner says, "they miss the next ball game. That's a state rule."

The kids remain heartbreakingly loyal to the memory of their late teammates.
When they go to the bench, they pull on white tee shirts; printed on the backs of the shirts are the yearbook portraits of Ryan Winn and Danny Richardson.

"It's not about hype," the shirts proclaim. "It's about the pride. It's about the love.

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Michael Kiefer