The Dover-Eyota boys basketball team took to the court Tuesday night to face Caledonia, but they were without one key player.
Though he didn't play in the game, captain Kale Pike still made it on the court and was recognized beforehand for his strength in something else he's up against.
Dover Eyota High School senior and basketball team captain Kale Pike is used to battling it out on the basketball court.
But as of last week, Kale is now battling against something much more strong than the opposing team: He's battling cancer.
Diagnosed last Wednesday with cancer, Kale didn't waste any time with treatment and underwent surgery the very next day, a surgery that has a full recovery time of four weeks.
On Tuesday of this week, he started his first round of chemotherapy; His treatment plan is to have 12 rounds in 12 weeks.
At Tuesday night's game, his coaches, teammates, and community rallied around him, giving him a half-court honor and presented him with a signed basketball.
The team also had t-shirts made that say “KP3STRONG” on the front and "No One Fights Alone” as well as “Power of the Pack” on the back.
The team will wear these shirts as warm-ups for the entire season.
"He's always thinking about someone else, not himself, always trying to make someone better. And again, he always has that smile on his face. And it just lights up the room when he walks in," said Dover-Eyota Boys Basketball Coach Tim Mayer.
Despite having surgery last week and a chemo treatment Tuesday, Kale lit up the gym with that smile on Tuesday night, and even spoke with us about his recent diagnosis.
"It's been kind of a let down because I did start with injury at the beginning of the season. But, the guys have been really good with everything and talking to me, and I've been talking to them and they're all good. We have a really close team, and everyone is just one big brotherhood. Like the shirt says, "we the pack", and yea, just one big pack,” said Kale.
Kale, who is going to attend Lake Superior College and hopes to be a fire fighter, said he plans to play as much as he can, treatment allowing.
Coach Mayer also added that Kale has always been a strong leader and is “probably the best captain I've ever had in the program.”
Coach Mayer said he has no doubt Kale will make his way back on the court before the season is over.