Special Olympics team competes at State Basketball Tournament


The Special Olympics basketball team competed in the 2019 Special Olympics Illinois State Basketball Tournament on March 15 and 16 at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The team was placed in the fifth division to play at State based on how well the players use certain strengths.
“It works a little bit differently than another tournament because every region does it differently. So for the tournament, we were in division three, and (at the tournament) we were in division five. They have some sort of formula that throughout the season, every time we practiced, every time we played, we had this scale that we rated student abilities on, and in order to have teams compete, they needed to be competing against teams with other comparable abilities,” sad coach Allison Barker.
The team has been working really hard to get to State by working on weaknesses during practices so that they can make it better.
“We worked on defense and passing the ball to our teammates,” said junior Michael Diondio.
The team also focused a lot on being able to communicate with one another so that plays could run smoothly.
“They have been really good with communicating with each other. This year has been really cool. We have a lot of new freshmen come in and join the team, so this year is their first time playing basketball competitively. Michael and Tim and those kids that have been on the team have to learn a different way of communicating,” Baker said.
All the players have been really excited to go to State and ready to face whatever team they went up against.
“We were very excited, and we just went out ready and prepared to play. State is a really big level,” said junior Timothy Ryno.