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Categorized | Sports

Special Olympic Basketball

By B.Schmitt

On Wednesday March 17,  Sparta High School held the Sparta Invitational for Special Olympic Basketball. The teams competing were Byron Center, Hudsonville, Lincoln, Rockford and Sparta; it was a round robin tournament, best of three games.

During the first game, Sparta A, led by Shaq Bryant and Justin Hunt, took on Brandon Trailer and Lincoln. In a game that was dominated by defense, Sparta got out of the gates fast and never looked back, in a complete route of Lincoln 31-9. After the first game, fans started rolling in, and cheering for whomever was playing. “I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the student body and all the fans. What a day for my kids to shine! It was really a fun day for all of us,” Coach Suann Foust said.

The Spartans’ second game was against the Rockford Rams, and they came out a little rusty. They gave up a quick four points to Rockford’s Andy Frank, but after a little pep talk from Coach John Hull, the team was back at it and rolling. Everyone on the team stepped up the defense and in return, everyone ended up scoring. The Spartans took their second of three games defeating Rockford 41-8.

The Spartans’ third game was almost canceled due to time constraints, but played continued when the refs decided to play shorter six minute quarters. After the short break, the Spartans took the court for their last and final game of the day. They took on a well-rounded Hudsonville team led by Joe Allen. Hudsonville and Sparta were both undefeated coming into this matchup, and neither team wanted to leave without the Sparta invitational title. After the tipoff, both teams came out defensively-minded, with little scoring. After the first half, the Spartans were down, but didn’t let a little scoring defecit keep them from coming back. The Spartans came back quick in the third, thanks to Wannace Perdue’s great play, and took a two-point lead going into the fourth. The fourth quarter was a quick one, playing only three minutes, due to time constraints. So both teams knew it would come down to a game winning shot. The score fluctuated back and forth, as the last 30 seconds rolled around, and just when Sparta needed it most Justin Hunt stepped up and hit a big shot that took the lead. With just seventeen seconds left in the game, Hudsonville turned to Allen. He received the inbounds pass, and waited for the clock to be close, and get the last shot. The clock ticking down, and with ten seconds left Allen made his move. He got an open look for the game winner, and it just wouldn’t fall.

“The fourth quarter was intense, and Sparta played really hard,” Randi Rogers said. Fans and players alike went crazy, after Sparta’s 22-20 win over Hudsonville. After a day of triumph and defeat, all the teams left, and sportsmanship has never been represented better.

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