There is more to life than sports. But, life is better with sports in it.

"I don't want to imagine where I'd be without sports."

Alec Tamburri is a junior at Lancaster High School. He's a three-sport athlete. And, he's never met a shot he didn't like.

"Coach Otto tweeted at the beginning of the year that this team is so closely knit, more than he's ever seen before," Alec said. "He's completely right."

"It's a family," explained Lancaster boys basketball head coach John Otto. "And we're an extension of [Alec's] family. He knows that and I think he thrives on that."

Growing up, Alec's number one fan was his mom Amy.

"She would understand jokes I would say that usually only my friends would understand and she would fire them right back at me."

***

Mother's Day 2014.

Amy was at the mall with her parents when suddenly, she had a seizure. They went to the hospital, but the doctors didn't know what was wrong.

The tests came back a week later. Amy had a brain tumor.

Cancer.

With his father out of the picture, Alec's grand-parents moved from West Virginia to live with him and his mother.

"It's nothing they had to do. They're just the best people in the world."

For the next two and a half years, Alec was by his mother's side.

"She was my best friend," reflected Alec. "She meant the world to me and I meant the world to her."

***

New Year's Day 2017.

Amy Tamburri passed away. She was 48.

"Before I got to bed now, I come into her room and kiss the pillow where she laid and tell her I love her."

Alec has a voicemail from his mother saved on his phone from about a year ago.

"I make sure to listen to that as the last person out of the locker room before every game."

***

Tuesday, January 3rd. Lancaster vs. Orchard Park.

Alec's first game since his mother's death.

"In my head, I'm trying to tell myself this game is no different than any other. She's still seeing everything that happens. She's still with me."

"It was just crazy," recalled Lancaster teammate Kyle Backert. "It was the loudest I've ever heard the gym."

With his mom watching from above, Alec Tamburri scored a career-high 17 points.

"And after every basket, I just pointed up and let her know it was for her."

Lancaster won by 16. Then with 10 seconds left, Coach Otto took Alec out to a standing ovation.

"I get emotional just thinking about it," Otto said. "It's something that'll stay with me forever."

"He left it all out on the court and his mom was watching the whole time," Backert said.

"That game will forever be the most important game, to me, that I'll ever play," Alec declared.

***

"There's no way I could ever live up to the person that she was, but as close as i can come to it is exactly how I want to live my life."

There is more to life than sports. But, life is better with sports in it.