Crowds pack Pt. Loma High gym in support of special needs hoopsters

Posted at 11:00 AM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 14:00:31-05
Point Loma (KGTV) -- Students with disabilities took center court Thursday night in a basketball game at Point Loma High School.
The 2nd annual “Unity Game” paired 7 students from special needs classes with players from the boys and girls varsity basketball teams.  It also featured three “unity” students on the cheer leading squad.
Hundreds of students and parents packed the gym to watch the game, cheering every time a shot went in.
“It was awesome,” said Daniel Agosto, one of the students with disabilities who played in the game. “After tonight, I want people to remember me as a legend, a cool guy. Not a weirdo.”
Daniel’s mother, Jesse, says playing in this game made her son more sociable and open.
“Before it was him in his little world. Now he’s having friends and having fun and joking around. So it’s fun for me to see him open up so much.
Donna Flores came home from college to watch her brother, Diego, play in the game. She held back tears as she watched the crowd erupt when he scored his team’s first basket.
“These kids don’t get enough chance to show how talented and how much energy they have and how happy they are and how much good they can spread around to people,” she said.
In addition to playing alongside the Unity stars, the varsity players also coached the teams, running weekly practices. And the school’s basketball coaches served as referees during the game.
“A game like this shows what sports is all about,” said Alex Van Heuven, the school’s athletic director. She came up with the idea for the basketball game after seeing videos of similar games online.
She added that a lot of the students with disabilities enjoy the game so much, they wear their game jerseys for days afterwards, without even washing them.