MILL CREEK - George Ward Elementary School's 5th grade basketball team proved sportsmanship can be a very rewarding experience.
The basketball squad not only won the Randolph County Superintendent's Classic Basketball Tournament but also earned this year's Sportsmanship Award for their compassion on the court. The award is given to the team that, during the tournament, shows good sportsmanship throughout the
George Ward Elementary School’s 5th grade basketball team features, front row from left, Gracie McCauley, Zach Currence, Brayden Bell, Daniel White, Garrett Gibson, Jace Swecker, Josh Bright and Emily Lanham; and back row, from left, Coach Amy Scott, Chloe Sycafoose, David Lanham, Carly Ball, Clayton Ball and Ethan George.
In the championship game, against Jennings Randolph Elementary School, players on the George Ward team would rebound the ball and give it to an autistic child on the Jennings Randolph squad to allow him to score.
"Our team would rebound the ball and hand it back to him until he made a basket," parent and George Ward first-grade teacher Amanda Bell said. "One boy on our team even showed him where to stand and they let him score twice."
Bell said that Amy Scott, coach and parent volunteer for the team, played a vital part in the winning of this award because she set high expectations of her team to compete with sportsmanship while also playing to win.
"They really learned more than basketball from her," Bell added. "If it wasn't for her, they may not have gotten this award. She teaches that compassion is just as important as winning."
The award was presented to the team at the end of the championship game by Randolph County Superintendent Terry George. They were given trophies as well as a plaque for both the championship and the sportsmanship.
Interim George Ward School Principal Darlene Lindsay said she was proud of the way the students performed at the tournament.
"I think this is great, not only to the school but for this age group in general, with all you hear about bullying, that this is the opposite end of the spectrum from bullying,"
"To me, it exemplifies everything that our kids can be and shows what George Ward represents. I am very proud of the team and their coach and they exemplify what our Character Counts program is all about."