A Day in the Life of Special Olympics Calvert County Unified Basketball 5×5 Team

Photos and Story by Marleen Van den Neste

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The Calvert County Unified Basketball 5×5 team joins athletes of similar age and ability with and without intellectual disabilities. It consists of 11 players. From left to right front row Morgan Lang, Liam Megonigal, Taylor Simpson, Chris Reed, Cody Webb, Nick Krohn; back row Jesse Sanders, Paul Kenney, Jason Gaines, John Krohn, Brendan Ehrmentraut, Amy Lacrosse.

The team is coached by John Krohn, who has a player on the team. John’s unique family structure (wife; twins; AND triplets) has resulted in an unbreakable family bond.

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March 23, 2014 is an important day for the team: the state championships at Hood College in Frederick, MD. Let the March Madness begin!

The team arrives early and has ample time for a nap and some warm-ups.
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Before the start of the first game Coach Krohn gathers the team for a pep talk and addresses each athlete individually.

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The first game against Frederick County is packed with action and excitement.

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Both coach Krohn and team members on the bench cheer and applaud the players on the court.

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The team bonds over a nice lunch.

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Before the start of the second game, also against Frederick County, the players are introduced. Some of them react with joy!

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A quick huddle and more action follows.

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As the game proceeds this player overcomes some initial hurdles and after encouragement by the coach, decides to join the game.

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The traditional handshakes are offered with happy faces.

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Team Calvert County: you rock! Next stop: the USA Games. Good luck!

Synopsis of the game by Coach Krohn:

The state tournament was expected to be game between two well matched teams with the intensity of a Super Bowl.  It was a rematch from a regular season game between two powerhouses, Calvert and Frederick.  Their regular season game ended with a last second three-point shot at the buzzer in which Calvert was the victor.  It may be hard to believe, but these teams would slug it out in a best of three games at the state championship tournament.   The games provided even more excitement with the most unpredictable ending.  The first game looked like a replay of the regular season game with the lead bouncing back and forth.

In the end, Calvert squeaked out another victory.  One hour later they went at it again.   The play was fierce, but conducted with sportsmanlike play.  Frederick avenged the first game loss with a win to tie the match.  Thirty minutes later the teams were on the court again for the final game to determine the state champion.  Like the three previous meetings, the game consisted of great shooting, intense defense, and neither team able to hold a lead.  At the end of regulation, the game was tied.  Overtime was played for five minutes and again the game was tied.  Both teams refused to lose.  In second overtime, the players gave everything they had left.  Yet again, after a second overtime, it was tied.

After three games and two overtimes the players had left everything on the court and both teams were awarded gold for being state champion.  On the court, the teams were warriors and after the game best of friends.  They exhibited the true spirit of Special Olympians.  It was the best March Madness Game of 2014!

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