The Richmond Register

March 11, 2013

Special Olympics basketball team from Madison wins state championship

Madison County basketball team

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

MADISON COUNTY — Another Madison County basketball team had hard-fought victories this weekend, with one student even making a trip to the emergency room to get six stitches in his forehead.

The next day, injuries and all, the team of nine brought home the state championship in its division.

While Madison Central High School seized its own big win Sunday, so did Madison County Enterprise, a Special Olympics basketball team with five Central graduates and one current Central student.

The Richmond Register shared a photo of the team Sunday night, and the Facebook post has since received almost 140 "likes."

Enterprise beat the Louisville Cheetahs 25-15, the game running almost simultaneously with the Central game Sunday, said head coach Lloyd Parsons.

“They played a couple of the hardest teams they had ever played,” Parson said. “It was just a good win for us and Madison County.”

The win also was bittersweet, said Sherri Barnes, the coach of the Special Olympics softball team and mother of two Enterprise ball players, Jordan and Chase.

The team’s assistant coach, Scott Lashelle, recently passed away from cancer, she said. His son, Cody, is still a member of the team.

“He (Scott) is smiling on us and proud of us for doing so well this year,” Barnes said. “It was very important for us to do well in his memory.”

Players’ ages range from 17 to 45 on the team, she said. Many of the athletes have been together since middle and high school.

They are more than just a basketball team, they’re like family, she added.

“We win together and we lose together — but it’s just a total celebration when we win,” she said.

Coach Parsons echoed her sentiments. Although he also has a son on the team, “they are all my family, all of them,” he said.

In Special Olympics, depending on the level of athletic ability, basketball teams are ranked B and A1 through A3, with A3 being the most athletic. Enterprise is an A1 team.

There were 12 teams in the A1 division, Barnes said, and Enterprise competed against four.

Parsons also has a “C-team” for athletes who are either too young to compete or who just want to come to practice every week at the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department on North Second Street.

The team was formed around seven years ago and was named Enterprise by Barnes’ son Jordan, after Star Trek’s famous starship, the USS Enterprise.

“I guess we had some Star Trek fans and the name happened to stick,” Barnes said.

Following basketball season, the Special Olympics track and field season will begin this summer. As soon as that is over, the softball season will begin until basketball starts up again in November, Parsons said.

Sunday’s championship game can be viewed on www.iHigh.com.

Those who are interested in participating in a Special Olympics team may contact Erin Moore at 623-8753.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@

richmondregister.com

or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.