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Lancers take home gold in Special Olympics Ontario Basketball Championships
A group of Lasalle Secondary School students dribbled their way to gold at the Special Olympics Ontario School Championships which took place at Trent University in Peterborough on May 30, 2018.
Brayden Bilyk, RJ Hanna, Brad Jarvi, Zachary Leonard and William Melanson competed against the best in the province in Unified 3 on 3 Basketball.
Unified teams are made up of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities who compete together. Throughout the game, two players with special needs and one player without special needs must be on the court at all times.
To qualify for the Championships, the team participated in the North East Ontario regional tournament at École secondaire Macdonald-Cartier in November 2017.
Getting to the finals was no easy task. The Lancers played a total of nine games in two days to mark their spot in the gold medal game, including a first place win in the semi-finals against Eden Secondary School of St. Catherines. From there, they proceeded to the finals against Roland Mitchener Secondary School of Timmins.
“The final game was a hard fought battle,” said coach Justin Oliver. “After 20 minutes of play, we were tied 10-10. The game went into overtime. We ended up scoring on a drive to the net. The boys were thrilled.”
He added: “The students were extremely honored. Capturing gold certainly boosted their self-esteem and they proudly wore their medals to school. It was a fantastic learning experience for everyone.”
“On behalf of the entire school community, I extend sincere congratulations to this group of hard working students,” says Lasalle Secondary School Principal Maureen McNamara. “We are so proud of the entire team and those who supported them on the road to success.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympic Games, which offers programs in 18 different sports to students across the province.
Maureen McNamara, Principal, Lasalle Secondary School
Rainbow District School Board, 705-566-2424