In the final game of the season Cole Middle School faced off against Portsmouth in Unified Basketball, getting the win.
“I really like how much everybody worked together,” said Colby Anderson during a pizza party for both teams after the game. This is the first time unified sports has been done on the middle school level in Rhode Island. It’s a collaboration between Special Olympics and R.I. Interscholastic Sports.
“Unified sports is the idea of taking students in the middle school and pairing them with individuals with intellectual disabilities,” explained Patti Carosotto, coach for the Cole team. “So … it’s being unified, it’s not what happens on the court, it’s what happens off the court.... It’s all about meeting new people.”
Carosoto thought the season went very smoothly considering it was the first year. “I think they did great. I think they were a bit apprehensive at the beginning because they were unfamiliar with it,” she said. “I think they learned the true meaning of unified sports.”
There were five middle school Unified Basketball teams this year. Unified basketball and volleyball are played on the high school level in Rhode Island.
For some students, this was their first opportunity to play on a school team.
“I think I shot a good amount,” said Matthew Thompson, an eighth grader at Cole. “I really appreciated being on this team which was better than sitting home doing nothing.”
Coach Lawrence Hill of Portsmouth Middle School was also pleased with how the season worked out, and particularly pleased with Thursday’s game, despite his team having lost.
“I think the best thing about today, was two players scored a basket for the first time this season,” he said, referring to two of his players.
With a win in the final game of the season, the Cole team goes out on a high note.
“I will always do it again,” said Colby. “It was something that I will never forget.”