Centennial High basketball team remembers teammate killed in weekend accident

Centennial High School sophomore basketball player Clayton Boen is pictured on a banner hanging inside the school's gym in Bakersfield, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Boen was killed late Sunday night when he fell out of a moving car that police say was being driven by another teen who'd been drinking. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Varsity boys' basketball practice went on as usual Tuesday at Centennial High School, but there was one noticeable absence.

Sophomore Clayton Boen was killed late Sunday night in an accident that police blame at least partially on alcohol.

Police report that Boen fell out of a car during a left turn. They say the driver had been drinking that evening, and Boen was hanging out the window of the car. The accident occurred just before midnight on Renfro Road, on the far west side of town.

Boen's teammates gathered together on Monday to grieve and spent some time with Boen's family, something the kids report helped with their grief.

Just 16, Boen earned a spot on the top squad because of his tireless work ethic.

"That dude never stopped smiling," said Rishi Padhy, a senior on the team. "He even made sprints fun. He would be laughing during them. He was just a good guy to be around."

Boen shared his passion for basketball with his brothers, one older, one younger.

Outside of school, students report he enjoyed video games and drinking Dr. Pepper. He was a "germaphobe," they said, something they enjoyed kidding him about. He was well-liked by his classmates.

"It's a big loss, because he was always there for me. He always had my back," said Noah West, a teammate and neighbor. "It's just really tragic."

The team plans to start only four players Wednesday in its game against Garces Memorial High School in a nod to the missing man on their roster.

"He was just the nicest guy," sophomore Ben Dokolas said. "He was always the hardest worker. He always came out ready to play. He was always thoughtful and considerate."

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