Ware County student dies after playing basketball

Teenager collapses while playing basketball, dies at hospital, police say

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor , Francesca Amiker - Reporter

WAYCROSS, Ga. - A sophomore at Ware County High School died Monday doing what he loved friends said, after he collapsed and died playing basketball at Waycross Middle School.

According to the Waycross Police Department, 16-year-old Kysheem Hill was being treated by Ware County emergency workers when police arrived at the middle school. He was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System, where he died.

The high school and middle school are less than 10 minutes apart in Waycross.

Police are investigating the teen's death, and his body is being sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab in Savannah.

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Hill's brother, Cameron Baker, said Hill loved basketball, and it's hard for him to think that playing the game he loved was one of the last things his brother did.  

"Having three older sisters when they brought him home from the hospital, I was like, 'I finally actually have a little brother.' I'd always wanted a little brother," Baker said. 

The brothers shared not only childhood memories, but a love of basketball, which continued even after Baker moved to North Carolina.

"I used to talk to him all the time. He had just started playing basketball a couple of years ago, and I played basketball when I was in high school and stuff like that. So he used to always call me and ask for tips on basketball, and he would check up on me and see how my games would go, see how good my game was, and stuff like that," Baker said. 

Students at Ware County High School are receiving assistance from the school district's Crisis Intervention Team, along with the Waycross Police Department's chaplains and clergy from various churches in the community.

Aside from family, Hill's friends are also mourning the loss of a friend they said always made them feel special and made them laugh, calling Hill a ball of energy that will be missed. 

"We had class today together. We had JROTC. He was real funny and he had a great spirit," classmate Tiffany Gillans said.

A spirit that one of Hill's best friends, Josh McCray, said filled an entire classroom and came alive whenever the teen hit the basketball court. McCray was friends with Hill for six years.

"He was my best friend. Everywhere we go, even when we went to church and every trip we went on, I was right there with him. Singing in the choir together. That was my best friend," McCray said. "He'll make you smile and he'll make you happy. And I'm going to miss him."

Friends of Hill said he was a star athlete with a promising future. His friend of ten years, Kristin "Coffee" Coffie, cried when he spoke to Channel 4's Francesca Amiker. "I just seen him the day before yesterday," said Coffie.

He said he would have been playing basketball with Hill on Monday, but he had to go to nursing school. He believes if he was there, his friend would still be alive. "I keep beating myself saying that I could have did something to help," Coffie said.

The high school will also host a candlelight vigil for Kysheem at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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