Special Olympics Basketball Tournament About More Than Winning

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email

Special Olympic athletes from across the region battled for a chance to go to the State Tournament, right here in Bowling Green today, at the Kummer Little Recreation Center.

Today more than 250 Special Olympic athletes on 19 teams from across Kentucky took to the court for their chance to shine.

"A lot of athletes have been working really hard and practicing two and three times a week. This is a big day for them,"says Nicole Defreeze, with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation.

And it was a big day for the Bowling Green Deputies who won their first two games.

"It feels great. We got a great team on and off the boards and we're going for that state title and there's no holding us back,"says Captain, Robert Llyod.

"It feels amazing and I'm surprised we did it,"says Mikaela, a player for the Deputies.

And the West Kentucky Hawks from Paducah were all smiles as they advanced to the State Tournament.

"It feels good I ain't lieing. It's a relief I've tried to do this for three years and I finally got it done. My team is amazing I couldn't have done it without them,"says the Hawks

But it wasn't without hard work.

"They've practiced real hard each and every practice they've had,"says the Deputies Coach.

We put two maybe three months of practice into this and it all paid off,"says Llyod.

"Long time practice everyday,"says the Hawks.

But when the buzzer sounds it's not just about the win or the loss.

"I like the players I get to play with the people I get to meet. The kids who have disabilities it's amazing to come together,"says Lloyd

"Just the excitement to see them happy that's all I wanted,"says a member of the Hawks team.

"Before I signed up I almost had no friends at all I was bullied a lot and now I have a lot of friends from Special Olympics from Muhlenberg County all the way to Owensboro,"says Mikaela.

Basketball is one of the most popular Special Olympic sports with 91 teams statewide.

Eleven teams from the region will compete in the State Tournament which will be held in Louisville March 8Th through the 10Th.


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