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HOLMESVILLE -- The Holmes County Training Center Bucks put on an impressive basketball clinic for Holmesville Elementary School students, who challenged the Bucks to some friendly competition on Friday morning.
Holmesville hosted the purple-clad Bucks for a third straight year as part of its Leader in Me program. Twenty-five fifth- and sixth-grade students hit the court, a new set of five kids subbing in every three minutes.
The Bucks dominated the first half, going up 18-2 on their smaller competitors. Overcoming their nerves, the home team battled back in the second half, but the Bucks took the win by a score of 36-30.
"The game allows the kids to see how the Bucks players can still play despite their disabilities," said Chad Lorentz, the physical education teacher. "And the Bucks get to come to our school and show us what they can do."
Students not participating in the game split into two cheering sections, one for the Bucks and one for their classmates. A few Bucks fans waved their homemade signs in the air while the Cubs fans rallied their team with chants of "Defense!"
Nathan Yoder, a young man blind since birth, returned for another halftime performance. He briefly explained how he learned to read Braille, displaying one of his six manuals. He then performed an abbreviated hand jive and received several rounds of applause for playing the tune, "I'm in the Lord's Army" on his harmonica.
"We want our students to know there are all kinds of people in our world and we need to work to understand them all," Holmesville principal Christa Frantz said.
Frantz's students weren't the only kids who took home that message. Six seniors from the Waynedale High School boys basketball team also came down to assist each team as the sixth man.
"This is a special event and we don't get a lot of opportunities to interact and talk with these guys. It's a different experience and really fun being around it," said Waynedale senior Adam Mullet.
Lorentz added, "It's a great opportunity for those seniors as well to come down to the elementary school and set a good example for our students who look up to them."
Reporter Emily Morgan can be reached at 330-287-1632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.