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Norris Special Olympics team wins state basketball

Norris Special Olympics team wins state basketball

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament was held on Saturday, April 2nd at Lincoln North Star High School.  The Norris Titans’ Skills Team and 3 on 3 Team performed well, taking home Gold and Silver Medals.

The Titan Skills Team, consisting of Aaron Drury, Jacob Zinnecker, Ethan Echternkamp, Cyle Niemeyer, Kelsi Prange, Hannah Hopkins, and Aubrey Wagner, had 3 teams in their division.  Their first game was against North Platte.  At the end of the first half Norris trailed by 2 points.  In the second half Norris came back strong with only 1 catching error, but while they outscored North Platte, they still missed the win by 1 point, with a final score of 85-86.  Both Hannah Hopkins and Jacob Zinnecker were the high scoring contributors for the game. Their next opponent was the Central City Diggin Dolphins.   The first half ended with the Titans being on top 45-43, and Aubrey Wagner and Cyle Niemeyer sharing high scoring honors.  The second half found the Titans increasing their lead through only having one passing error and the high scoring contribution of Jacob Zinnecker.  The decisive final score of 86-82 won the Titan Skills Team a Silver Medal.  North Platte took home the Gold and Central City the Bronze.  Coach Debbie Crippen stated, “I am so proud of the level of maturity I witnessed in the athlete’s desire and efforts to work as a cohesive team.  Their support for one another started in practice and carried over into the pressure of the games.  We had quite a crowd of Norris fans come out and support us this year and I’m sure they would echo my pride in the first class way in which our athletes carried the Titan name.”

The 3 on 3 Team, coached by Larry Crippen and comprised of B.J. Gould, Christopher Spohn, Taryn Bentzinger, and Austin TenHulzen, Benjamin Phillips, and Zaden TenHulzen, competed in a division of 4 teams.  Their first game, against the Celtics, ended in a Titan triumph of 30-10.   B.J. excelled, earning the most points (10) as well as leading in rebounds.  Taryn was a substantial contributor as well, leading in assists.  Also contributing equally by making steals were Christopher, Austin, and Zaden.  Their next game was against the Villa Marie Eagles.  Though it was a hard fought, aggressive challenge, the Titans were victorious with a final score of 16-12.  It was an especially impressive win as Taryn was playing on an injured hip from Track, and B.J. ended up fracturing his hand in the final minute of the game, when falling in an aggressive bid for the ball.  Christopher led in points (10) and steals, B.J. lead in rebounds, and Taryn’s contribution had her leading in assists.    The two victories won Norris the Gold medal, with Villa Marie taking Silver, the Celtics winning Bronze, and Madonna placing 4th

Head of the Norris Delegation, Debbie Crippen, commented on the teams’ successful season saying, “We saw huge strides in capabilities from all the athletes.   Our older players provided great mentorship and our younger players Aubrey, Ben, and Zaden all made impressive shots and showed good ball handling skills.  We have great expectations as we look to the future.”

Team members include: Taryn Bentzinger, BJ Gould, Chris Spohn, Ben Phillips, Zaden TenHulzen, Austin TenHulzen, and Larry Crippen (coach)