Unified Basketball begins season in Western New York

Sports

It’s Friday afternoon at Iroquois high school.

“It’s something beyond what I thought three ago that it could turn into something like that,” said Sean Lauber, who is the coach of the Unified Basketball, Volleyball and Bowling teams.

Fans have packed the stands in the gym as the Chiefs host Lancaster in their first Unified Basketball game of the season.

For Alex Rundquist, who has been a part of the Iroquois Unified Basketball team for three years, it was an unbelievable atmosphere.

“It was so much fun. It was a great experience,” Alex said.  Having the whole entire school come down and cheer us on. It was so loud today.  It was the best thing I could have.”

And for Jake Nowicki, who is suiting up for the first time with Lancaster, it was an experience unlike any other.

“It means a lot because two years ago I couldn’t play and I was really upset,” Jake said.  “But now I’m here and I’m ready to play.”

And he did — dropping three after three after three — earning plenty of love and admiration– which included MVP chants from the crowd.

“I was happy,” he said with a smile.  “It was surprising.”

His mom Cheryl was there to capture the action, which included a postgame photo with a fan.

“That’s my son,” she said as she snapped the picture.

“It’s awesome. I love her,” Jake said of his mom being at the game.  “She’s my biggest supporter.”

“I’m so elated, so proud of him.  He’s worked hard to be able to play this year,” Chery said. To come here and have a great game and a place with such a wonderful program, I’m so proud and so blessed he’s able to be a part of this.”

The Chiefs and Legends would battle to overtime with the final buzzer ultimately indicating the contest was over.  A life changing game, worth every minute — where everyone wins.

“It’s probably one of the most special things I’ve been involved with because you really do see kids grow so much and develop kills you never thought they’d have, especially their voice,” added Lauber. “Now they’re high fiving kids in the hallways, giving hugs and all the kids know their names and this is what life is about.”

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