Unified basketball championships bring out the best in everyone

Local Sports

Sometimes in life, we all lose sight of what’s important.

That’s even true in sports.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in a win or loss for our team that our priorities get out of whack.

I can tell you I’m guilty of that.

But, every now and then, sports can help open our eyes to what really matters, and on Wednesday, I was lucky enough to witness one of those moments.

At Johnson City Middle School, eight teams took to the courts as part of the Section IV unified basketball championship tournament.

Maine-Endwell taking on Horseheads in the first game.

Andy Harris takes it in all the way for the lay up.

Then, carried up by Gavin Demilio.

He pulls up and hits the long jumper.

And then, Demilio with the pass to Faith Bellinger, and she gets the bucket.

Owego and Elmira played after.

Austin Nichols down court. He finds Ryan DePuysselier.

He faked me out and then made the basket.

Later, Daniel Farley wrestles the ball free and moves it to Grace Thomas and she lays it up and in.

The host, Johnson City, next court over taking on Ithaca.

Terran Shivers with the moves and takes it to the rim for two.

This was a close one late.

But, thanks to some big free throws by Desean Rivers and Kam-ron Kemp, the Wildcats were able to hold off the Little Red. And then they got to celebrate.

Last game of the night was Union-Endicott taking on Lansing.

David Larson moves the ball for Demetrius Dutcher, and Dutcher gets it done.

Then, what a moment.

Nicholas Beach sends the crowd into a frenzy as he buries this shot from the paint.

And this is what unified sports are all about. 

Every single athlete showed tremendous heart, sportsmanship and team work. 

And every single one of them should be so proud of how they represented their schools.

This was such a joy to cover and was a great reminder of the good in the world.

What an atmosphere, and what a night.

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