Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium hosts Special Olympics basketball tournament


Becky Klosterman stole the ball in the waning moments of the game, dribbled to the basket and put it through the hoop.

All her and her teammates had to do was stay strong defensively and prevent the Clark-Floyd County team from scoring.

The Jackson County Twisters did just that and won 14-12. The championship was theirs, and the first-place trophy was in their grasp.

Together, they hoisted the trophy. Together, they embraced and celebrated what they accomplished.

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Just like they had in their first game — an 18-8 win over Bartholomew, Brown, Jennings County — they worked together and experienced the thrill of victory.

That’s what Special Olympics is all about. It doesn’t matter your disability. It’s all about showing your abilities.

"I just couldn’t believe it," Klosterman said of making what proved to be the game-winning basket in Saturday’s 38th annual Seymour Noon Lions Club Special Olympics Basketball Tournament.

"I just held onto (the ball) and just took it to the basket and I got it right in," she said.

The win was particularly special because a player on the Clark-Floyd County team was nearly 7-foot tall and rose above everyone else.

"He was a lot taller than I was, but I got on him," Klosterman said.

She finished with six points, while teammate Dale Hickman scored the team’s other eight points. Other members of the team are Eric Jackson and Roger Hanner, and Bill White filled in for Isaiah Burnett.

"It feels great," Klosterman said of the team’s championship. "It was wonderful to meet other teams and get to play with them and see how they do."

Hickman scored all 18 of the team’s points against BBJ. A lot of his points came from rebounding the ball, taking it back and then driving to the hoop.

In the second game, he said a team effort helped the Twisters come back from an 8-4 deficit, tie the game at 12 and ultimately take the lead.

"I love it," he said, smiling. "Everybody came together in the second game, and we won as a team. I love playing against these other teams."

Coach Melinda Shepherd was proud of the Twisters’ efforts.

"I think they were superstars," she said. "Everybody lit it up. I thought they did very well passing to each other and everybody working together as a team. I just thought everybody contributed. I thought they did great."

The tournament was the first one of the season for Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County’s four basketball teams.

The Tornadoes five-on-five and Twisters, Tsunamis and Hurricanes three-on-three were among 40 teams from around the state competing Saturday in Seymour High School’s Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium — the largest high school gymnasium in the nation — and the auxiliary gym.

In the main gym, the Tornadoes lost 26-14 against the Monroe County Hornets in the morning but came back with an 18-14 win against Shelby County in the early afternoon to place second.

Thomas Emly, Josh Beals and Travis Ward had four points apiece and Jeremiah Griffin made a basket in the first game, while Emly scored 12 and Beals had six in the second game.

Other members of the team are Rob Smith, Montana Casto, Tim Ashburn and Derrick Martin.

Martin said he was happy to see the team rebound from the opening loss.

"The first game, we didn’t pass the ball well enough," he said. "The second game, passing was better, teamwork was better."

In the auxiliary gym, the Tsunamis pulled out a 13-12 win against the Harrison County Ramblers but fell to Shelby County 20-8 in the championship to finish in second place.

Averie Brennan led with six points in the win, followed by Alysha Sandlin with three and Haley Ackeret and Elijah Noble each with two. In the loss, Ackeret, Sandlin, Brennan and Nevaeh Ackeret each had two points.

The Hurricanes lost both of their games to finish in fourth place — 20-6 against Lawrence County and 20-10 against the Monroe County Bobcats.

Kayla Kriete had four points and Cheroki Isgrigg had two in the first game, while Kriete and White each had four points and Donald Bennethum scored two in the second game. Dee Bennett also played in the first game but had to sit out the second game because of an injury.

The other Jackson County coaches are Jim Shepherd and Chloe Shepherd.

On Sunday, the Tornadoes will travel to Salem for a 5 p.m. game against Washington County.

All four Jackson County teams play Jan. 25 and 26 in Bedford with five-on-five the first day and three-on-three the second day.

They also will play in a tournament Feb. 8 in Shelbyville, while the sectional is March 12 in Hope.

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For information about Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County, visit facebook.com/jacksoncountyspecialolympics.


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