BUDDING basketballer Lachlan Stephenson stepped onto a hardwood floor - a place where he felt at home -and scored 22 points in a quarter.
It was a special feat and one his former coach Scott Judd recalled when paying tribute to the south-west sportsman this week.
Lachlan passed away after a seven-month battle with brain cancer on New Year's Day. He was 20.
The man loved for his kind, humble and energetic personality is survived by his mum Amy, dad Jason and younger sister Riley.
His passing is being felt across the Western District - he lived in Camperdown, studied at Cobden Technical School and suited up for Terang Tornadoes in the Country Basketball League.
Scott said Lachlan, affectionately known as 'Stevo', was the ultimate teammate.
"I was lucky enough to play alongside him and what stood out was him always giving 100 per cent effort, always being willing to learn and his intent to do the right thing for the team," he said.
"The will to learn was something I experienced on a personal note because I helped out with part of it as we played similar positions in basketball. He was such a fun, energetic character you wanted to be around."
Recalling Lachlan's most damaging quarter brings a smile to Scott's face.
"There was one game where he scored 22 points in the last quarter and that is a pretty impressive note for anyone," he said. "He got on a roll one day and showed all his talents in one hit."
Jye Saunders watched Lachlan progress from an eager eight-year-old to talented teenager during his time with Camperdown Basketball Association.
He believes Lachlan "would've had no problem playing at the Big V level with the (Warrnambool) Seahawks".
"He was a very talented basketball player and it would have been interesting if he wanted to pursue it to see how far he could've gone," Jye said.
"One thing that really stood out to me was how he played as hard at the defensive end as he did offensively and that's not always something that's natural to teenagers."
The Camperdown association allowed Lachlan to suit up alongside family in its domestic competitions.
"He played with his dad and uncle (Grant Fleming) and a few older guys and he was certainly the legs they needed to get over the line," Jye said.
Lachlan had already started to give back to both the Terang and Camperdown organisations in a coaching capacity.
"He was always quite mature for his age," Jye said.
"As an adult myself, I found him one of those kids you could have a discussion with about basketball and life and you felt like you were talking to a peer rather than someone 15 years younger than you."
Football was Lachlan's other sporting passion.
He'd use his skills and pace off half-back to propel Camperdown's junior teams into attack.
Jason Fowler, who coached Lachlan for three years, said he was "a joy to have around the footy club".
"I had a lot of fun with Lachie, we encouraged that with all the kids. There was a fair bit of mucking around," he said. "Stevo loved that sort of stuff. We used to stir him about being a redhead and he'd say 'no mate, I'm strawberry blonde'.
"He'd always be thinking of something else to come back with. There would be plenty of times he'd be running past and you'd get a comment about your lack of hair or 'careful old fella you don't tweak a quad or pull a hammy'."
Lachlan's family want to raise awareness of diffuse midline glioma - a disease which has a survival rate of just one per cent.
"He fought hard but the battle was just too big to win," they wrote in a statement.
"He endured surgery, radiation and a clinical trial. This was the exact same treatment regime which was used to treat this cancer in the 1960s - there have been no medical advances in this area for more than 60 years.
"Lach was a perfectly healthy and fit 20-year-old who was playing footy and basketball one week and debilitated the next.
"The tumour stole Lach's balance, co-ordination, vision, speech and the ability to swallow and then breathe.
"Please help us so parents in the future do not have to endure our unimaginable pain."
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