Basketball thrives at special needs schools

March 8, 2012 5:46 am

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Brendan Hancock, 16, and Bobby Fox, 15, are in the midst of their own March Madness.

The teens will meet on the basketball court Tuesday at Pathfinder School in Bethel Park.

Brendan is a student at Pathfinder, and Bobby attends Clairview School in Hempfield. Their school teams are in the hunt for the first ever championship bragging rights among six special needs schools in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Bobby, of Penn Township, has been looking forward to the game with his Clairview Wolves since the last basketball game in February.

"He loves it," said his father Richard "Skip" Fox. "When he puts that uniform on, he puffs up."

"That's all he talks about the week before a game," his father said. "He is 5-11, and he loves getting rebounds and he loves a breakaway. He may score 15 points, or two points in a game, but the score isn't that important."

Bobby has attention deficit disorder and a learning disability, his father said.

"I think the basketball games have helped all the kids," Mr. Fox said. "They are socially interacting with those from other schools, and there is the discipline in taking direction from the coaches."

Mr. Fox said when Bobby first began attending Clairview three years ago, he had trouble interacting -- but not any more.

"He's very social now," Mr. Fox said, adding that his son's involvement in the basketball league as well as Special Olympics have helped.

He said Bobby began playing basketball three years ago with the school team and the program has grown each year as more schools join.

"Bobby's always liked sports. ... And he loves everything outdoors, such as hunting and fishing," his dad said.

It is a similar story of anticipation at Brendan's house in Bridgeville this week.

"He's thrilled; we have a picture of him in his uniform that we got laminated," said his mother, Evie Hancock. Brendan started playing on the school team last year, she said.

She said Brendan has shot hoops in their yard since he was little and is a good shooter. And, he's 5 feet, 10 inches tall, which helps in basketball.

Debra Duncan, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.
First Published 2012-03-08 03:59:28

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