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Unified basketball tips-off in WNY

Posted: 2:07 PM, May 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-06 21:51:26Z

The sights and sounds of high school basketball have returned to Western New York.

"Some of the students have never been a part of the something like this in their lives," Starpoint Coach Kathie Kreppenneck said. 

Unified Basketball, in conjunction with Special Olympics New York, is a new athletics program providing varsity sports opportunities to intellectually disabled students.  This year Akron, Eden, Lockport, Newfane, Starpoint and Frontier have joined.

Team rosters are a mix of athletes with intellectual disabilities and general education students.

"Some of these students and parents have never even attended an event in school. Watching some of these students faces and having them included in this is amazing," Kreppenneck added.

Through the program, Linda and Bud Ess have seen their grandson, Cody Schultz, transform as a member of the Starpoint basketball team.

"It's very fun. Very fun," Cody said.  "You can talk to the people cheer them on.  It's very fun."

"He wants to be a part of the team.  His self-esteem has raised tremendously," his grandmother Linda said.  "He makes us practice with him at home,"

What's it like to have his grandparents watch him play?

"I can't explain it," Cody said with a smile on his face.

"We've been looking for a sport to get him involved in and this is one he really likes. He seems to be doing well in it as well," his grandfather, Bud added.

For Matthew Murray's mom she says it means the world to see her son wear a jersey, represent the school and community.

"When he was born, he had a lot of physical limitations. He walked late, he talked late," Corrie said.  "He was in the Special Ed program since he started school and to see him be a part of a program that all the regular kids have been a part of."

"This is so awesome. I'm so glad Newfane instituted it.  I couldn't be prouder of my son and the whole team," she added.

They've been practicing for about a week now with the season set to tip off on Monday.
 

***Unified Basketball Schedule***

All games start at 5 p.m. unless specified below

MONDAY, MAY 9TH, 2016                                                                             

NEWFANE @ STARPOINT                                                                            

AKRON @ FRONTIER                                                                                     

LOCKPORT @ EDEN                                                                                        

                                                                               

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11TH, 2016                                                                    

LOCKPORT @ NEWFANE (4:30)                                                                                                                                                                       

THURSDAY, MAY 12TH, 2016                                                                                                        

EDEN @ AKRON                (4:30)                                                                                  

FRONTIER @ STARPOINT (6:00)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

MONDAY, MAY 16TH, 2016                                                                           

LOCKPORT @ AKRON (4:30)                                                                       

NEWFANE @ FRONTIER                                               

STARPOINT @ EDEN                                                                      

                                                                                                               

THURSDAY, MAY 19TH, 2016                                                        

STARPOINT @ LOCKPORT                            

EDEN @ FRONTIER

AKRON @ NEWFANE (4:30)

 

MONDAY, MAY 23RD, 2016

FRONTIER @ LOCKPORT

STARPOINT @ AKRON (4:30)

EDEN @ NEWFANE (4:30)

 

THURSDAY, MAY 26TH, 2016

FRONTIER @ EDEN

STARPOINT @ NEWFANE (4:30)

AKRON @ LOCKPORT    

THURSDAY, JUNE 2ND, 2016

SKILL EVENT / FINAL TOURNAMENT @ LOCKPORT HS

Two games @ 4:30

Skills Event with Awards

Final game @ 6:45

 

Final Awards to follow