The Special Olympics basketball teams played the Elgin Bluestars at Hubble Middle School yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 7. The games were this year's event for the CUSD 200's 7th annual "" night, benefitting the Christmas Sharing Program.
The Christmas Sharing Program assists local families in need—nearly 90 percent of whom are District 200 families, according to a District 200 press release. Last year, 947 families—4,275 people—benefitted from the program. This year, the program reported that 1104 families have signed up for assistance.
This was the first year the Special Olympics teams have partnered with the Christmas Sharing Program for "Pack the Gym," according to Linda Knicker, assistant superintendent for special services in District 200. Attendees donated nonperishable food items as an admission fee and prices for raffle prizes were matched and donated to the Christmas Sharing Program.
Hubble Middle School presented a check for $4,119 at halftime of the first game. All District 200 schools had their own drives, collecting mostly food, clothing, toys and other items. "I'm always surprised—for every dollar," Knicker said. "Every dollar we make—it makes a difference. People think, 'does a dollar really make a difference?'" It does—"it makes a huge difference," she said. Because of every dollar donated, families are able to receive assistance. The entire program is run using donations, Knicker said, with some help from District 200.
The District 200 Flying Tigers have two teams—blue and orange. Blue lost the first game, 28-18 and orange lost the second, 46-24.
At the end of the first period of the blue team's game, the Tigers were leading 8-6, courtesy of shots from Anna Gunther. The Bluestars tied the game in the first minute of the second period, most of which they dominated the court. With two minutes remaining in the half, the Bluestars led 14-10 when the Tigers made a comeback.
Kenny Munzing made two shots for the Tigers to tie the game at 14-14. Sean Doran made a shot from just inside the three point line to put the Tigers in the lead, 16-14 at halftime. The Bluestars led most of the second half after the Tigers tied the game 18-18 in the third period.
The orange team finished the first period trailing the Bluestars, 14-4. They started the second period with a point in the first minute and another shortly after at 6:57, when Felicia Flomo scored on a shot from just inside the three point line. The Bluestars stayed at 14 points as the Tigers dominated most of the period, which ended with the Bluestars still in the lead, 18-12.
The Bluestars continued their scoring streak in the second half to eventually finish the game 46-24. After remaining at 12 points for most of the third period, Tigers defender Jaibu Baby intercepted a Bluestar rebound and scored on a break away to make it 26-14.
The intensity of the success caught like fire as Baby scored twice more to make the score 26-18 at the end of the period.
With one minute remaining, Felicia Flomo scored and Jesse Feehan finished the period with a shot, making the final score 28-22, Bluestars. Tigers' Donald Moore scored the last shot for the orange team to finish the game 46-24 with 1:50 left in the fourth period. What went well for the Tigers was the way they played defense and made stops, said senior Jesse Feehan. "That's how it worked all year last year," he added.
The Tigers' next game is January 4, 2011.
Head coach Adam Ferguson said the intensity of the game was what helped and also what possibly hurt the teams. "When things (that are good) happen—they come together," and more of it will come, he said. "A couple quick steals and some easy layups … and then they come back and do it again."