County Special Olympics basketball teams set for tournament


For the first time since 2016, Jackson County will be represented in a local basketball tournament.

In Saturday’s 37th annual Seymour Noon Lions Club Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, Jackson County will have a five-on-five team, a three-on-three men’s team and a three-on-three women’s team.

They will be among nearly 35 teams from around the area competing that day.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Games will be played at Seymour Middle School and the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour. There also will be a skills competition for those unable to participate with a team in a game.

Jackson County has 15 players on its basketball team, which is nearly double the number on the 2016 squad. The coaches are Jim Shepherd, Melinda Shepherd, Chloe Shepherd and Donald Griffin II.

The team has been practicing once a week since the beginning of November.

“Their shooting has gotten a lot better,” Jim Shepherd said. “It will be interesting when they actually get in a game. Some of them have played before, but some of them, this will be a brand-new experience. Most of the three-on-three players are brand-new. We’ve scrimmaged, but it’s not like playing another team. You don’t know the other team.”

In Saturday’s tournament, the Tornadoes five-on-five team plays Washington County at 9 a.m. The loser will play at 2 p.m., while the winner will play at 4 p.m.

The Twisters three-on-three men’s team has its first game at 10 a.m. with the winner playing again at 1 p.m. and the loser taking the court at 1:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes three-on-three women’s team plays at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. The skills competition is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club.

“The tournament is good because it’s an all-day thing, and they get lunch, and it’s just a time they can hang out,” Jim said. “A lot of folks know people from other areas, so they see people they know sometimes. The Lions Club was really excited that we were back in it. It’s nice that we could have a team — three teams at that.”

The tournament has been organized and operated by the Seymour Noon Lions Club since 1983.

The public is invited to attend, and admission is free. The club organizes and pays for the event through sponsorships and fundraising throughout the year, including Seymour Oktoberfest merchandise sales and the Pig in the Park event.

The club, a service group that promotes charity and activity in the community, purchases trophies and ribbons for winners and participants.

Along with club members organizing and running the tournament, others in the community help out by running scoreboards, taking statistics and officiating.

Donations were made by McDonald’s, Jay C Food Stores and Pepsi.

Special Olympics is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities ages 8 and up.

A county management team was formed in Jackson County in the fall of 2017, and the first activity — a unified fitness club — was offered in April of this year.

The club gives athletes and partners an opportunity to walk and do other activities together once a week year-round. Clubs are formed using the Unified Sports model, pairing people with and without disabilities.

The first sport was softball in the summer, and then basketball started in the fall. Track and field will be the next sport offered.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: 37th annual Seymour Noon Lions Club Special Olympics Basketball Tournament

When: Games begin at 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., and Boys and Girls Club of Seymour, 950 N. O’Brien St.

Who: Nearly 35 teams will compete; Jackson County will have a five-on-five team, a three-on-three men’s team and a three-on-three women’s team

Cost: The public is invited to attend the games for free; concessions will be available for purchase


No posts to display