The Catoosa community is receiving help as it struggles to deal with the loss of a little girl. Lauren Creel died in a house fire last Friday, after she was unable to escape her home. Firefighters stated that an old lamp cord sparked the fire. Her sister and mother escaped, but Lauren did not make it out.
Creel was laid to rest Wednesday morning. Her basketball team has played in several games since the tragic fire that claimed her life.
When the Oologah coaches and parents learned what happened, they found a way to rally around Creel's team. It's a gesture the Oologah community learned last year, after two young sisters died in a car wreck. A soccer team from Skiatook honored the older sister's memory, when playing her team. The Oologah team is paying it forward, in order to help Catoosa deal with its loss.
Sophia Abdo, Oologah's basketball coach stated,"When we heard about this, it hit home."
Creel wore number 13, so during Saturday's game her teammates and the opposing team wore her number. Everyone on and off the court showed their love and support for the young girl. This season was Creel's first year playing basketball.
Catoosa's basketball coach Dean Franklin said, "We pass the ball, [and] we move like we practice. At this elementary school gym in Catoosa, it didn't matter what team you were on today.”
Abdo stated, “These girls, they're all like sisters. When they're on the court you know all bets are off, and they're playing hard."
Catoosa scored the winning basket, but the game ended with more than a handshake. Oologah presented Catoosa with a game ball honoring Creel.
Creel's teammate couldn't believe the outpouring of love. "I thought it was sweet of them to do that for Lauren," said Trinity Creekmore.
“Way to finish. You played hard; that's what Lauren would want us to do. We played hard for her. You guys played hard for yourself. Good job!"
Now every game is being played in her honor.