It was a modest setting - the 10 o’clock Thursday night loser-out game of a boys State B tournament - for such a defining moment.
Of all the highlights in all the games in 40 years under the Coliseum roof, one stands as a thrill of two lifetimes.
The lifetimes of Keith Dyk and his dad, Bob.
When Keith Dyk went off for 50 points in a 1982 tournament game for Northwest Christian against the Darrington Loggers, it was a scoring feat incredible enough even without the circumstance that colors it now.
Dyk did it in only 26 minutes of playing time. The tournament record - 54 by Gordy Harris - came out of a game that went into double overtime.
Keith Dyk didn’t have the time, but then time never was on his side. As a sophomore, he was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a fatal cancer.
“By his senior year, he’d had a third of his lung taken out,” Bob Dyk recalls. “Before that game, he had battled cancer for three years and came back to do what he did that night. I’m speaking as a parent, I know, but that’s amazing.”
Reaction to chemotherapy had cost him 40 pounds and his hair. And he had undergone surgery in the summer after his junior year.
But by the following March, he’d regained the weight and the hair. And for 26 glorious minutes, the Darrington Loggers found him unstoppable.
Fifty points. Twenty field goals, 10 free throws and a couple of passes late in the game that may have cost him the record.
It was a night in the Coliseum when a father, who felt so deeply the pain and uncertainty of his son’s illness, could revel in pride. One obscure game took on a significance that more than once has been a comfort to Bob Dyk.
One night in the Coliseum, Keith Dyk showed us what he could do with the cancer in remission, with just a flash of the vitality most of us take for granted.
Dyk may not have come close to 50 if he’d been just another talent. If he didn’t see that game as a chance to leave something of his numbered minutes behind, his coach, Jim Stinson, may have.
When Darrington fell hopelessly out of it - and Dyk had 31 points after three quarters - Stinson had a decision to make.
Call off the dogs and be a good sport, or go for it.
“So much of coaching is spontaneous,” Stinson said. “After what Keith had gone through in his junior year, it was amazing that he was even playing. He had worked his way back to this. I felt compelled to give him a chance to break the record.
“I don’t regret it. Years later, when he was suffering and the future didn’t look good, we could relive the past, which we did.
Bob Dyk was keeping score that night.
“I was starting to lose track,” he said. “I was running out of room. I used one line (of a scorebook) and started another.”
The line on Keith Dyk would continue to go off the scale.
“He put up quite a battle,” the elder Dyk said. “It started with what we thought was a hernia. He fought it through 11 surgeries, through chemo and radiation before it finally got him in ‘91.”
He was 26.
The Coliseum where he and his dad shared their glory is coming down, but it doesn’t matter. It’s only a building.
“When the new building is there, all the better,” Bob Dyk said. “I’ll still go to the tournament. I’ll still walk around the building. I’ll remember.”
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Empire's home game against the Fever. Check out this photo gallery of game photos.
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