Basketball binds Maynard family together through loss

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- One seat in two gyms keeping a family together even through fierce rivalry.

"Those games they'd be right on the mid-court line," Western Albemarle boy's basketball Coach Darren Maynard said of his parents during the Albemarle-Western Albemarle rivalry.

"She and dad sat in the same spot every time they go to an Albemarle game or a Western game, they're right at half-court," former William Monroe boy's basketball coach Mike Maynard said, Darren and Greg Maynard's brother.

For the past 23 years the Albemarle-Western Albemarle rivalry has pitted brothers, Darren and Greg, against each other.

"People think you guys must be at war with each other, we really get along great," Darren said, who's coached Western for 23 years and just reached 400 career wins, "We keep it right on the court."

"We don't usually talk about our games against each other and that's worked well through the years," Greg said, now the Albemarle boys coach for the past 30 years, "I know deep down, we're thinking about them all the time."

That focus is never more clear than during game week for both Greg and Darren and the rest of the family.

"They don't really talk about it," Mike said, who played for Albemarle when Greg was an assistant coach, "I bet they don't even know their records against each other, they've played for so long against each other."

But in their first matchup this season the focus was not on basketball, but the empty seat at mid-court remembering their mother Fran Maynard, who passed away weeks earlier.

"To look over there and not see her, sort of made me a little emotional too, a little strange feeling," Darren said.

"It was tough for Greg and Darren, I don't even know if they even cared what the outcome would be that night," Mike said, "That was really tough. Dad was there watching the game and we were all there with him, trying to keep Dad as busy as possible."

In a time of grief the Maynard's were able to turn to the game that has kept them so close throughout the years: basketball.

"I guess it's been a blessing that it's been during basketball season that we've had to deal with it," Greg said, "We all stay so busy with that and it gives him something to do all the time."

For the Maynard family even though there might be an empty seat, Fran will not miss a minute.

"I missed her and I missed her all the time anyway," Darren said, "But not to see her there I just have to try to console myself that she's still watching all the games, her seats just a little higher up."

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