Special Olympians hit the hardwood

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Basketball players from throughout the County were showing off their skills today at the University of Maine Presque Isle. Over 100 Special Olympians were on hand for the annual event. Once again this year the event focused on competing in games.
(Carl Michaud):" We changed the format from skills to playing game and we had 24 teams today two going on at the same time. 8 minute games everyone plays two games and we have awards based on wins and losses."

Mark Capano from Maine Special Olympics says this is one of three basketball events held State wide and that he is very impressed with the number of athletes and the skills they possess

(Mark Capano):" There's a lot of teams competing and that bodes well for participation and all the athletes from this area."

Community Living Association in the Houlton area now has a basketball team called the . Ed Toner coaches the White Wolves team. They currently have about 8 players and would love to see more in the future.

(Ed Toner):" Me and my sister decided to start a team. We had enough interest in it. We had eight last year and eight this year and are hoping to get more."

Mike Toner says that hitting the hardwood is something he really enjoys.

(Mike Toner):" I like it a lot. It is a good sport and I really love playing it."

Volunteers from the Easton Varsity Club, Presque Isle boys and girls basketball teams and the Caribou girls basketball team helped out at the event. The end of the day featured the Aroostook Snowdogs playing unified games with the Lady Vikings.

(Brian Hamel):" We are going to use the unified format that is three on a team and two Caribou girls. We will play with each other use their own skills. It is a new concept in Maine and one we are using throughout the State where we intermingle the Special Olympic athletes with the High School athletes on the same team."

We will have much more on unified basketball on Friday night at 11 on Sports Extra. This day was about the players showing off their skills and enjoying a day on the court. The hope for Toner is to see more people involved in the Houlton area.

Toner:" They love it they all look forward to it. They have a great time interacting with the other teams like the Hodgdon team and the Houlton team. I am sure they will have a good time with that."