Issaquah player Mason Sanford, right, plays formidable defense during the eighth annual Special Olympics basketball game on Jan. 17 at Issaquah High School. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Issaquah player Mason Sanford, right, plays formidable defense during the eighth annual Special Olympics basketball game on Jan. 17 at Issaquah High School. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

A tradition continues in Issaquah

Eighth annual Special Olympics basketball game brings the community together.

Sometimes the final score doesn’t always tell the entire story.

The eighth annual Special Olympics basketball game featuring the Issaquah Eagles, Issaquah alumni community team (yellow jerseys) and the Issaquah alumni community team (blue jerseys) took place in front of a sizable crowd on Jan. 17 at Issaquah High School. The alumni teams, which alternated every quarter, earned a 43-38 victory against the Eagles.

Issaquah High School athletic director Luke Ande was thrilled to see the competition commence on the hardwood.

“Typically our Issaquah High School team plays a team from Ingraham High School but they weren’t able to make it this year. This year our team played against teams of former Issaquah alums who have previously played with the (Special Olympics) program,” Ande said.

Each year Ande eagerly anticipates the Special Olympics hoops extravaganza on the Eastside.

“This is hands down my favorite night of the year. For these kids to have the spotlight is definitely special,” Ande said. “I have been here for eight years and we’ve been doing this every year that I have been here. As long as I’m here, this will be happening. We hope to continue the tradition moving forward because it is such a cool night and event for the community.”

Issaquah Eagles announcer Bill Foote, who was in his fourth season broadcasting the Special Olympics basketball game, was impressed with the multitude of fans in attendance.

“The student body crowd actually looks bigger than a mid-week varsity game,” Foote said while motioning toward the student section. “It is fun watching these kids (basketball players) have fun out here, break a sweat and make some baskets. There is some pretty good athletes on the floor tonight.”

Ande said the players who competed in the game practiced two to three days per week since the beginning of November in preparation for the Jan. 17 contest.

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