Unified Basketball: Mariner v. Kamiak

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Valerie Diep, Staffer

FEBRUARY 6, 2020, there was a Unified Basketball game against Kamiak, and they proved to be a formidable opponent with both well-trained athletes and great numbers. 

The event was extremely invigorating and entertaining. Many seats were filled with students, families, and cheerleaders from both schools who came down to root for their respective teams. All the while, the band stood in the middle of the bleachers with blaring brasses, thundering drums, and crashing cymbals. 

In addition, Mariner had its own halftime show with a contest between six volunteers from both Mariner and Kamiak. The challenge was to blow up an air balloon and use that air to knock down solo cups aligned on a table. Of course, Mariner won a, admittingly narrow, victory.

Kamiak’s players showed little mercy, as many attempted long shots while showing impressive coordination. Head Coach Austin Richard explains, “it’s [probably] more of the organization and the Kamiak coaches” and less of the rivalry between Kamiak and Mariner that there is a special intensity found in the game that night. 

“There’s a lot of people [here] who are just volunteering that don’t know about the game of basketball, and so the fact that their coach played high school basketball, she’s done a very good job of preparing her kids.”

However, Mariner well displayed the connection and teamwork between their athletes, such as teammates helping athlete Osmar Montoya Morales gain multiple rebounds before landing a successful shot, or partner (those who help those with disabilities) Jackson Cole assisting Ethan Woods with “transition[ing] from offense and defense and gives him verbal cues on what to do with the ball.” 

Although the final score was 24 to 36, there was still a great amount of excitement and enthusiasm by the end of the game: “We lose a game by twelve and then kids are smiling and jumping around, and you don’t see that after a lot of games.” Though Unified Basketball primarily focuses more on enjoyment than competition. Head Coach Austin Richard notes, “our two teams have a chance to qualify [for state], but we’re in the same division, so there’s a chance that we could be playing ourselves.” 

Richard added, “We lose a game by twelve and then kids are smiling and jumping around, and you don’t see that after a lot of games.”