The staff and students at Hills and Dales school competed in a carefree basketball exhibition on Thursday. The game was officiated by Highland County commissioner Terry Britton.
Upon entering Hills and Dales on Thursday it was obvious where the game was taking place as the sound of cheering and laughter could be heard from the multi-purpose room.
The Highland County Special Olympics Wildcats basketball team, clad in their signature blue uniforms with white lettering, controlled the game from the beginning as the staff tried and failed to stop them on numerous occasions.
Smiles and laughter were in abundance in the makeshift gymnasium as the Wildcats put on a show for the small crowd in attendance.
It was obvious, from surveying the players and officials, that everyone was there to make the day as special as possible for the Wildcats while also maintaining a semblance of competition.
The Wildcats led 9-6 after one quarter of play and 22-20 at the half as the Hills and Dales staff tried to keep the Wildcats within reach.
However, in the third quarter, the Wildcats led by Darius Mustard put their foot on the gas and slowly but surely began to pull away and led 34-28 after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter saw the Wildcats torch the Hills and Dales staff members as they poured in 15 points to secure a 49-36 win.
The light hearted nature of the game was obvious throughout and never more apparent than when Hills and Dales staff member and Wildcats coach Phil Loudin argued every call made by Britton. If the commissioner called a foul Loudin said it was not. On one occasion Loudin was so winded from bantering back and forth with Britton and the other players that he had to sit for several minutes before returning to play.
Britton spoke with The Times-Gazette after the game and had this to say, “This is a great time for me. It gets me out of the office a little bit and of course I get to pick on some of the people I know real well. I really enjoy coming out and doing this,” said Britton.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.