Special-Needs Student Steals the Show During a High School Basketball Game and Makes the Winning Shot
uncategorized| | By Margo Gothelf
Thanks to Norman High School’s Lady Tigers basketball team, one player is finally getting her time in the spotlight.
During an important basketball against their rival, the Timberwolves of Norman North, the Lady Tigers managed to pull ahead with a strong lead. With their lead secure at 57-35, the Lady Tigers decided to put in one of their star player, Lainy Fredrickson, who is also a crowd favorite.
Fredrickson, a student with special needs on the Lady Tigers basketball team, scored the winning basket at the end of the game. While the win was important for the Lady Tigers, it was extra special because of Fredrickson’s basket. Check out the incredible moment below.
“She always puts a smile on everybody’s face,” Detrick Watts, the assistant girls’ basketball coach and special education TA, told Today. “You know your day is going to be better just from coming into contact with her.”
Watts and head coach Mike Neal decided to put Fredrickson on the team during her senior year. They both saw how much fun she had during the school’s Special Olympics and thought she would have a great time on the team.
“She asked (Neal) jokingly if she could be on the team, not knowing he would say yes,” Watts told Today. “The team chemistry is something amazing. The girls really took Lainy in with open arms.”
He continued, “They talk to her in the halls, they eat lunch with her…when we’re not doing drills, they come over and give her pointers.”
Lainy Fredrickson suits up for every home game and understands that while she on the team, she won’t play in every game. However, if there is a big lead in the score, Lainy Fredrickson gets some playing time on the court.
The heartwarming basketball player got a chance to play earlier this season, yet she wasn’t able to sink her shot. This time around she was able to make her basket, sending a mega cheer throughout the crowd.
“She came into the locker room crying. Our girls were crying. Our coaches were crying,” Neal told NewsOK. “That’s what it’s all about. It was the perfect moment. I’ve never been a part of anything like that before.”
He continued, “We’re just here to make her feel good. Everybody deserves a chance to do what they love. Playing this game is what she loves.”
Michael Vanderburg, a former student from the school, was able to capture the one-of-a-kind moment on camera. The video has already been viewed over 969,000 times, quickly capturing the hearts of many on the internet.
This moment will be sure to stick with the players of both teams for a long time to come.
“As coaches, you try not to show your emotions, especially during the game,” Watts said to Today. “But the reality sets in that this is something more than basketball … it’s fulfilling a dream. For the coaches, and I think for the players, it’s something I’ll never forget.”