Two Union Catholic High School basketball players remain hospitalized with serious injuries as support pours in from all corners of the hardwood community and school officials begin exploring fundraising initiatives to help their families.
Seniors Ashton Lofton and David Hawthorne were hurt in a car accident on Route 22 after the Vikings’ 78-47 win over Rahway Friday night. As reported initially by njhoops.com, Lofton suffered a broken pelvis and Hawthorne suffered a broken leg and head trauma.
“The outpouring of support from the New Jersey basketball community has been overwhelming, from high school coaches in our conference and county and throughout the state, and also from the college community,” Union Catholic boys basketball coach Jim Reagan Jr. said Sunday afternoon. “The number of coaches who have reached out to our coaching staff, the school and the families who are involved has been a great consolation to our team, the families and the school.”
Reagan declined to provide details about the players’ conditions, citing the wishes of their families, but said fundraising initiatives are being explored.
“There has been talk among the school and our athletic department to look into some endeavors to help their families out financially,” he said.
Judging from the public comments of area coaches and athletes over the past 48 hours, such an endeavor should have plenty of backers.
“Everyone should say a prayer for them tonight before bed. Great kids,” Linden coach Phil Colicchio tweeted.
Tweeted Governor Livingston coach Steve Petruzzelli, “The Highlanders join everyone else in prayers for Ashton and Dave. Our thoughts go out to their families and the UC community.”
Lofton, a guard who hails from Hillside, and Hawthorne, a forward from Irvington, were enjoying fine seasons as key starters for the Vikings. Union Catholic is 10-2 and favored to win the Union County Conference’s Mountain Division. Reagan said the team has resumed its practice schedule in preparation for Tuesday’s game at Roselle.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood coach Dan Doherty, whose team is scheduled to play the Vikings Friday, said he will talk to his players on Monday about the perils of driving.
“We remind them every now and then, and we’ll remind them again,” Doherty said. “Unfortunately something like this happens.”