CLEVELAND - Two standout basketball teams put their winning seasons on the line Friday. But unlike most games, the final score was not the most important part. The camaraderie on the court made everyone a winner.
The undefeated Broadmoor Bobcats from the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities in Mentor traveled to Villa Angela St. Joseph to take on the Vikings. The Vikings are undefeated at home.
Both teams were looking for a “W” in this exhibition game. Bobcats player Zachary Warten kept to the same strategy. "Get to where I can get to -- to the hoop,” he said. Teammate Melissa Welch went into the game with confidence. "We have really good players. And, there are a lot of people that are really doing good on the team," she added.
Melissa said she and the Bobcats prepared for this match up like they always do – with a lot of practice. "I know that we train really hard and always try to improve at what we do," Zachary added.
In the spirit of true competition, there were some player exchanges on the teams. And another difference, Vikings fans were rooting for the visiting team. "There are really no boundaries for anybody. I think anybody can do anything as long as they set their mind to it. And, these kids are really talented honestly," Vikings player Jeff Grudzinski said. And, from the stands, Char'Vese Windham made an interesting observation about these student athletes with disabilities. "On the court you just see kids having a good time playing basketball," she said.
Down 20 at halftime, the Vikings battled hard in the second half. They tied up the score with just seconds to go, but in the end the Bobcats battled back for the victory. Vikings player Vaugh Johnson summed up day this way. "Probably the most fun game I have ever been in. They are a great group of kids," he said.
"And, you can look at the stats, or the smiles to see the real winners. And, I'm glad we get to have them here, so everyone at our school can feel the happiness and the fun that comes with it," Vaugh added.