Evan Bergmann honored one his heroes and received some honor of his own along the way.
Along with Republic senior Cameron Doke, Bergmann received a $1,000 scholarship award in memory of 2014 Nixa graduate Logan Middleton at the 71st Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament. The Logan Middleton Memorial Fund opened in 2014. Each year, two high school boys basketball players in the Blue and Gold Tournament are honored for displaying outstanding sportsmanship and receive scholarships.
“It’s an honor. I looked up to Logan,” Bergmann said. “He’s a role model to me.”
Middleton graduated from Nixa High School in 2014. As a basketball player, he helped the Eagles win four consecutive Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament championships.
Middleton died the night before Thanksgiving of 2014 in a vehicle accident. Middleton, 19, died in a Stone County crash along with Landon Potts, 17, and Cody Uber, 19, both of Nixa and Lance Porterfield, 19, of Sparta. Four more teenagers were injured in the crash.
Middleton was a student at College of the Ozarks at the time his life was cut short.
Bergmann first met Middleton while shooting baskets at the Nixa Community Center under the watchful eye of Logan’s father, Splinter Middleton.
“His dad noticed me shooting and thought I was a pretty good shooter, so he put me against Logan and I was a lot younger than him. I actually beat him in a 3-point contest, so it made my dreams come true when I beat him,” Bergmann said.
Bergmann liked watching Middleton play for Nixa so much that when Bergmann that he requested Middleton’s former jersey when he reached high school.
“My freshman year, I wanted to get in that No. 14 jersey,” Bergmann said.
Bergmann started his career wearing No. 14, but immediately approached his coaches and asked to switch to No. 10 following the fatal crash of 2014.
“I got to wear it for one game and then I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and my mom told me the news. I knew I had to get out of that jersey and honor him in that way,” Bergmann said.
Nixa has not assigned No. 14 to any varsity or junior varsity boys basketball player in the past three seasons.
The Eagles (11-1) finished in third place in the Gold Division at the 2016 Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament. Nixa returned to action Friday with a win against Lee’s Summit and followed it Saturday with another against Blue Springs South. Following the Blue and Gold, Bergmann said he was anxious to help his team regain its winning ways.
“That’s not the outcome we were looking for,” Bergmann said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”