The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views


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Unified Basketball places 1st at regional competition

The Laker Unified basketball team ended their season victorious after winning first place in their division at the Regional Tournament on Saturday, March 2. After regular practices twice a week and competing in numerous games, the team is ecstatic about their performance.

The team has been coached for the past few months by Erin Cealey (Pathways Learning Specialist), Sarah Cochran (Special Educational Assistant), Kayla Hunter (Educational Assistant), Dalton Albios (Special Educational Assistant), John Warner, Anna Anderson (Special Educational Assistant) and Hannah Ziettlow, with additional help from senior Brad Nesvold. Cochran explained that this was LOHS’ second year having a Unified basketball team, “Last year we only played in regionals, and this year we played regular season and regionals, and ended up winning first place.”

This year’s team has not only evolved in terms of skill and experience, but also with size. “Overall, it’s a very welcoming community,” Cochran said. “It was definitely a smaller group last year, but this year… it’s grown and become a bigger community.”

Sophomore Kennady Hottel, who participated on the team for the second year in a row, said that “it’s definitely more competitive [this year], as we’ve had more teams actually show up and were ready to play, so it was really fun.”

A distinct factor that makes the Unified basketball program so unique compared to other sports is its intertwined relationship with the LOHS Pathways Program. The team’s inclusive approach allows students with varying levels of ability and skill to play basketball while still engaging in a competitive team setting. In particular, junior McKade Castillo caught the eyes of the stands as one of the team’s star players, “I always want to be a supporter,” Castillo said. “We feel like champions, like I’m an NBA player.”

In addition, Hottel recalls that a memorable moment of the season was seeing two players on the team begin to pass the ball to each other for the first time in the season during the regional game. “It was really great to see them work together,” said Hottel.

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of Unified teams like basketball is the sense of community and connection for the players.  “Our goal for the season was just to get the players out there, play basketball and be motivated to play with each other and build as a team,” said Hottel. “I think we achieved our goal with building a team and fun memories, and just having a good time.”

With back to back victories in each Unified sport and teams growing in size with increased school recognition, the team’s central message remains clear: more people are always encouraged and welcome to join. Cochran recommends students to “give Unified a chance if you haven’t yet,” since the coaches and students are always wanting more people to join their program and get involved.

“It’s not a lot of working out, it’s more just having fun building memories and playing a sport,” Hottel added. “I want to encourage people to join Unified, it’s a really great experience.”

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