Gallaudet Women’s Basketball Players Scrimmage with KDES Basketball Teams
The families of the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) boys and girls basketball teams wanted to recognize the teams' special achievement. Each team came home as the undefeated champion from the Tri-State Tournament, held at the New Jersey School for the Deaf in New Jersey on March 3. The participating schools were KDES, the Lake Drive School, the Maryland School for the Deaf-Columbia, and NJSD.
On March 26, 14 KDES families came together to celebrate the KDES athletes with a surprise event. The families donated food and brought gift cards to recognize the contributions of each of the four basketball coaches. A surprise awaited the players: "When the KDES players arrived at the gym, they saw a group of Gallaudet University women's basketball players-they thought they were going to watch the KDES teams play," said Tara Downing, KDES family educator. "The KDES girls were delighted to find out that the women's team members were going to scrimmage with them against the KDES boys." Seven Gallaudet players came: Andrea Amati, Amy Bachtel, Easter Faafiti, Nuke Hayes, Britny Latham, Tandy Lewis, and Stephanie Weiss.
The Gallaudet Lady Bison finished the regular season with a 23-2 record and was the top seed in the North Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament. It came as no surprise when the lady Bison and KDES girls' teams defeated the boys!
The KDES basketball players have been improving their skills this season, and the teams and coaches were pleased with their strong finish. Seventh grader Mauricio Orozco has been on the boys team for two years and plays on a league team at home where all the other players are hearing. "Last year we were developing our skills; this year we had more of a passion. I really wanted to win [the tournament] for the team and for myself. Our coaches really cared. They were strict, but care about our futures," said Orozco. "The tournament was really exciting...I'll never forget how hard we worked on passing and making a lot of shots."
Fifth grader Gabriela Villatoro played on the girls team for the first time this year, focusing on how to pass, dribble, and play by the rules. "I felt confident during the tournament. We were ready. Our coaches taught us well; we would not have been as motivated without them," she said.
The school community turned out on March 5 to give the teams a surprise welcome-home reception, and to give everyone an opportunity to congratulate the players and coaches and view the trophies. In addition to bringing home the team trophies, the girls team won the Around the World, Lay Up, and Free Throw championship awards and the boys team won the Lay Up championship award.