A season-ending event included 40 local Special Olympics athletes, who took to the hardwood to compete.

Representing the Hermiston/Pendleton Special Olympics Local Program #510, basketball athletes charged into the gyms March 17 at Sandstone Middle School in Hermiston. The afternoon began with Individual Skills Athletes participating in passing, dribbling and shooting drills. Kristi Smalley said the drills are designed to work on basketball fundamentals.

Also, three 3 v 3 teams competed against three different opponents in 20-minute games — providing an opportunity to showcase skill improvement and teamwork.

The 5 v 5 team also competed in three games. Providing an assist was local program coordinator Angela Schneider, who rounded up area volunteers to play against the Special Olympians. Members of the Boardman Rural Fire Protection District and high school students from Hermiston, Boardman, Stanfield and Irrigon received quite the workout from the Special Olympians, Smalley said.

Also, Smalley said Jason Speer along with area coaches and high school students provided officiating for the games.

“It was truly a team effort to provide a fast paced afternoon of competition for our local athletes,” Smalley said.

Special Olympics provides athletic training and competitions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There is no cost for athletes to participate.

Athletes or volunteers interested in the spring sports season — including track and field events, bocce or golf — are encouraged to contact Schneider at 541-314-0166.

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