HoopsBELVIDERE – On Friday, Nov. 13, Belvidere North High School hosted the first annual S.O. High School Hoops Invitational for students with special needs.  The event was sponsored by Northlands Association for Special Recreation with help from the Belvidere Park District.

The invitation consisted of a basketball tournament that involved three local high schools, the Belvidere North Blue Thunder, the Guilford Vikings, and the Hononegah Indians teams.

Matt Ross, District 100 Director of Special Education, said this is the first time they’ve done the event and that they plan to continue the event once a year. It gave each school’s special education department the chance to get their students involved in a fun sporting event that they can remember for the rest of their lives.

The event was given a lot of support and attention through the Belvidere Park District, sponsoring the event, Belvidere North High School for holding the event, but also by all the students, faculty, volunteers, and fans who went to the event.

Students from each participating school really supported the event in every way possible. They helped referee the games, and helped coach the players.

The Belvidere North varsity cheerleaders cheered for the entire event. The biggest support of all was the students and familiesHoops 2 who came to the event to cheer the teams and each player.

The cost of the event was $5 per person and all the net proceeds were distributed evenly to the three participating high schools.

Belvidere North High School’s quartet began the event with the National Anthem. The three games followed directly after. All standard basketball rules applied to the games, and each game consisted of four quarters with eight running clock minutes plus a five minute halftime.

The first game was Belvidere North versus Guilford. The stands were filled with fans for both teams. Parents, friends, and a large amount of the students from each school cheered on their teams.

“It’s been an amazing turn out of students,” Matt Ross said. “This is the first time we’ve tried this event and it’s turned out so well we plan to host it once a year.”

Ross also said that the proceeds from the event are distributed to each team evenly to help pay for supplies and equipment for their special education departments.

The Belvidere North players didn’t get much of a chance to rest after they played Guilford, because right after that game they played Hononegah for game number two. Hononegah fans filled a huge section of the stands cheering on their friends, family, and fellow classmates.

The third game of the tournament, and the last game of the event, was Guilford versus Hononegah. That game was followed directly by the awards ceremony for all the players. Each player did a great job but most of all had pleasurable time, and made memories that they will remember forever. They didn’t care if they won or lost. They just cared about having fun.

This was an event that was supposed to be enjoyable and to raise money for the school’s special education departments, in which it succeeded in both. The players, students, and family members had great times watching the basketball games, and every dollar made went to a good cause.

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