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North Valley basketball star remains in critical condition after car accident

Sean Gronholm, a sophomore standout on the North Valley boys basketball team, remained in critical condition at Providence Medford Medical Center Saturday evening.

Family members and friends have kept a vigil since the 15-year-old suffered severe head injuries in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday.

Gronholm was a passenger in a small pickup truck driven by Travis Lee Hurst, 16. The truck swerved out of control and rolled over in the 2400 block of Galice Road, outside Merlin, according to accounts in The Grants Pass Daily Courier.

Rescuers had to cut both boys from the vehicle.

Gronholm was taken by Mercy Flights to Providence. Hurst was not seriously injured.

Gronholm is the son of Richard and Gail Gronholm.

The North Valley baseball team's Skyline Conference-opening doubleheader scheduled for Saturday against Lakeview was postponed. No makeup date has been determined.

Gronholm played junior varsity baseball for the Knights last year, and many of the players now on the varsity are sophomore classmates of his. They have been at the hospital since the accident, said coach Mike Reese, adding that one of the players is Hurst's brother.

"They stayed over there three nights in a row," Reese said Saturday night. "They told me, basically, that they were not going to leave until they know what the determination is.

"We're very, very torn up."

Gronholm chose not to play baseball this spring, planning instead to sharpen his basketball skills.

At 6-foot-5 and despite his youth, he led the Knights last season in scoring and rebounding at 17 points and 11 boards per game.

Martin Connelly, the North Valley boys basketball coach, quoted a newspaper story that labeled Gronholm a "sophomore sensation."

Connelly talked of the vast basketball potential exhibited by Gronholm, but, he said, even that was overshadowed by his graciousness.

"I still remember after our playoff loss to Hidden Valley," said Connelly. "He felt bad for me. He came up to me and put his arm around me and said, 'Sorry, coach.' That's the kind of kid he is ... a great heart.

"This is one of those things that leaves you wondering, 'Why?'"

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail