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An unbreakable bond

College-bound Ridgemont hoops standout vows to remain close with his great-grandmother

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Recent Ridgemont High School graduate and basketball standout Davante Ratleff, right, has helped care for his great-grandmother Marjorie Bayless since she suffered a stroke four years ago. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

Davante Ratleff gained notoriety for the way he put the basketball in the basket as a standout at Ridgemont.

But he is much more than just a talented player on the hardwood.

Forced to grow up at a pace much quicker than his peers, Ratleff sacrificed his own personal enjoyment to aid an ailing loved one.

Ratleff will leave his family’s home in Ridgeway today to embark on a college career at Heidelberg University. Before he leaves, he will have to say an emotional goodbye to his beloved great-grandmother, 97-year-old Marjorie Bayless.

Despite a nearly 80-year age difference, Davante and Marjorie share a bond as tight as one between a parent and child.

He simply refers to her as “grandma.” He says it in a tone of sheer reverence and respect.

Confined to a wheelchair and her hearing nearly gone, her face lights up when her great-grandson speaks.

For the past four years, Ratleff has been one of his great-grandmother’s primary caretakers. As the only other person in the house during the morning hours, he awoke around 6 a.m. every morning to prepare breakfast and give Marjorie her medicine before heading off to school.

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