SHS students, staff, rally behind special team PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 07:52

There was a scoreboard and a winning team and losing team with the Clark-Floyd Defenders played the Salem Pride in a Special Olympics basketball game on February 9.

The challenge after the game, however, was identifying who had won and who had lost because there wasn’t a face in the entire gym that wasn’t covered with a smile.

Maybe everyone was smiling because both teams forgot competition and cheered as John Combs, a member of the Salem Pride team, made his first of two baskets.

Then moments later, a player on the Clark-Floyd team gave Combs the ball again and he made a second shot.

The crowd at Brooks Memorial Gymnasium erupted when the shots fell through.

Salem students provided a student section for the Salem Pride and the Clark-Floyd Defenders.

SHS Principal Derek Smith has seen a lot of events at Salem High School, but said the Special Olympics basketball game is one of his favorites.

“This is incredible,” he said. “It’s an awesome gesture for our kids. We have a bunch of kids showing up. Angie Phipps has done a lot of organizing with our students, so both teams have a cheer block.

“We had a great crowd and the night was a huge success. It’s good to see our kids, not only the ones who showed up to cheer, but the ones who show up on Sundays to practice.”

Students coached the teams and members of Salem’s boys’ basketball team were the referees.

Smith said he hopes SHS students working with Special Olympics is something that continues for many years to come.

Phipps has been instrumental in helping to get Special Olympics off the ground locally and she was elated with the support and the turnout by community members and students.

The game against the defenders will be the Special Olympics team’s only tune-up before a tournament on March 18 at Henryville High School.

Phipps said there aren’t many teams in the area and opportunities to play are limited.

She said she is pleased with the improvements made by the Washington County team and thinks it will continue to grow and evolve.

In addition to all the fun and smiles, the game did raise more than $1,600 to benefit special Olympics.