Wisconsin Sports

West Salem's wins fueled by losses

Tragedy struck the Panthers boys basketball team twice

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) - 23954946

This season, West Salem is nothing but dominant.

"It's just amazing. The team chemistry, I've never had it," said junior guard Billy Tremain. "We've never had it like this as long as I've ever played."

But all the wins for the Panthers come after two losses for two teammates: Tremain and senior Sam Miller.

Tremain's father passed away in September.

"Something happens like that, it's just, it's taken from you. You can't get it back," Tremain said. "Nothing can replace it."

Miller's dad passed away in October 2012.

"Even some days, I still feel like I'm in a dream that I'll just wake up and he'll be back," Miller said.

Having gone through the same loss just 13 months apart, Miller and Tremain share a bond.

"Once his dad passed away, that's when I think we became a lot closer," Miller said. "Right when I found out, I just burst into tears because I knew exactly what he was going through and how you're in shock."

"He was right there," said Tremain. "First person, always by my side. He was there whenever I needed him."

In practice and in games, Tremain and Miller have the same motivation: their two biggest fans.

"Getting in the gym, shooting shots, that's what we did all the time so it kind of brings me inner peace," Tremain said. "Sneaking in here at night after practice, shooting some shots, pretending he's here just relaxes me."

"Playing now, it's just for him," said Miller. "When I drain a three pointer for him or something, it's all for him. He taught me everything I know. It's a great feeling knowing he's in practice everyday watching me."

The Panthers are the only team still unbeaten in the Coulee Conference. So this season, West Salem's losses are turning into wins.

"That's what makes it so much more special," Miller said.

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