Special Olympics basketball teams compete in Hoosier Classic

BATESVILLE — In a low-scoring first half, the Jackson County Tornadoes trailed the Franklin County Wildcats 8-6 through 12 minutes of play.

In the second half of their first game in the inaugural Hoosier Classic at Batesville High School on Sunday, the Tornadoes rallied by scoring the first 12 points and going on to win 26-19.

It was their second straight win after dropping the first two games of the season.

Their second game of the day, however, was against a scrappy, higher-level ROD Hot RODs team that built a 10-point lead at halftime and went on to win 42-18.

The Tornadoes were among 23 teams playing in the new Special Olympics basketball tournament hosted by Special Olympics Indiana Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties.

“The purpose was to bring more local competition to our area to give our athletes more of an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents,” Greg Townsend, county coordinator for Special Olympics Indiana ROD, told The 812 in a video posted on Facebook. “We did not expect this tournament to be so big.”

In their first game, the Tornadoes were led in scoring by Darrell Stevens with 12 points, followed by Thomas Emly with six, Todd Smith with four and Josh Beals and A.J. Engel each with two.

In the second game, Stevens led with 10 points, and Engel had the team’s other eight points.

The Tornadoes are now 2-3 on the season.

They were among the men’s five-on-five teams competing Sunday, while the remaining teams were three-on-three men’s and women’s squads.

Jackson County’s Hurricanes women’s team was the first to play. They played the Decatur County Cheetahs twice Sunday. The two teams also met at the beginning of the season at a tournament in Seymour.

The Cheetahs won 20-6 in the first matchup Sunday. Amanda Hamm led the Hurricanes with four points, and Averie Brennan had two.

In the second matchup, the game was much more competitive the whole way. Again, though, the Cheetahs came out on top, this time 20-14. Brennan tallied 10 points, and Hamm and Becky Klosterman had two apiece.

That puts the Hurricanes’ season record at 2-3.

The Jackson County Cyclones also were in action Sunday. The men’s team first played the ROD Chargers and lost 20-12 with Dale Hickman scoring six, Donald Bennethum four and Elijah Noble two. The second game was a 20-10 loss to the ROD Jaguars with Bennethum scoring six and Noble four.

The Cyclones are now 2-4.

After each tournament game, the referees came together to choose a recipient for the Sportsmanship Award. On the day, Hamm received it twice, and Hickman earned it once.

All three Jackson County teams will be back in action Feb. 25 at the Arnie Petre Basketball Tradition tournament at Shelbyville High School.