The Ballard Talisman

Unified Basketball finishes strong

A look back on the wins, losses and plans for next season

The+Unified+Basketball+team+placed+first+in+Districts+and+competed+in+the+state+tournament.+%28Courtesy+of+Robyn+Maddess%29
The Unified Basketball team placed first in Districts and competed in the state tournament. (Courtesy of Robyn Maddess)

The Unified Basketball team placed first in Districts and competed in the state tournament. (Courtesy of Robyn Maddess)

The Unified Basketball team placed first in Districts and competed in the state tournament. (Courtesy of Robyn Maddess)

Samantha Swainson, Staff Reporter

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The Unified Basketball team dominated the courts this winter. Moving up to the D1 division, the team of ten struck close to winning the state title this past March at the state championships.
Teams from across the state are supported by the Washington Special Olympics. They host tournaments throughout the state, allowing relationships for people with and without disabilities to foster. The organization provides experiences that can’t be reached through day-to-day activities.
“Unified is an experience for people with and without disabilities, working together to be on the same team,” Unified Coordinator, Robyn Maddess said. “They practice together and they go and compete together on the same team.”
The teams are compiled of athletes and partners, those with and without disabilities, working side by side to overcome the difficulties of the season through the repetition and focus provided by each sport.
“It was fun getting to hang out with everybody,” junior Nevin Shinners said. “I’ve been doing it since freshman year, it was good to see everybody.”
Bringing people together, not only from this school but those across districts. One example being, Roosevelt High School Unified coming to Jam the Dam to support the team.
Placing first at districts, the difficulties of competing at state didn’t overwhelm the team as the season drew to a close. With support from the D2 and D3 team on the road to state, spirits ran high throughout the season.
They took to the court in Wenatchee from March 2-4, to compete for a spot in the Special Olympics Washington Tournament. Ending the season as fifth in the state championships.
“We did not do as well as we hoped at state,” junior Natalie Zweig said. “But we were in the hardest division, going up against teams unlike what we were used too. We still did so well, worked together and got a lot better, which is what really matters.”
The three day tournament was taxing, bringing weak parts of their playing to light. Despite the loss at state, students like junior Brayden Kelly, are looking back on the season with fondness. Focusing on highlights such as the 3-point shot scored by junior Paul Glass.
The motivation to win has already set in for the coming year as the team hopes to take first place at the state tournaments for the 2019 Unified Special Olympics. “We have to learn from our mistakes,” junior Roudy Theard said.“We have to practice really hard next season and focus on the goals we’ll have to face to win state.”

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Unified Basketball finishes strong