GLEN ALLEN, Va – The squeak of sneakers, the swish of the net and the cheer of the crowd. Deep Run High School’s gym filled with the normal sights and sounds of basketball Thursday, but the Wildcats varsity team never took to the court. Deep Run and Godwin high schools faced off in the All-Star Basketball League. Students with moderate to severe disabilities from both schools squared off on the hardwood in front of a crowd packed with parents and peers.
“You can’t walk out of the gym without feeling better," Terra Balla, an exceptional education instructor at Deep Run and organizer of the league, said.
The league runs from around Martin Luther King Day through March with about one game a week. The Eagles and Wildcats ended Thursday's contest in a tie. Balla said the game is less about winning and losing, and all about seeing her students succeed. She added when other students see what the game means to her kids, it really opens eyes.
“It’s just the vibe of good. Everybody is happy and excited,” said Balla.
Most Henrico County schools, along with Hanover and Lee-Davis high schools have teams in the league.