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Wasatch represents Utah at National Special Olympics with cheers, fun



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

ORLANDO, Florida — Sometimes the hardest part of a basketball game is waiting for the game to begin.

"You ready? You ready?" coach Carla Bedingfield said.

The Wasatch High School Unified Basketball team has spent months practicing for these National Special Olympics.

Finally, it was time.

They knew Massachusetts would be a tough opponent, but these players from Heber City, representing Utah, still gave it everything; Like Noah Wright, who scored several baskets, and even got the Utah fans into it by waving his hand after his first bucket.

And Lauralyenn Wallace, who not only hit her jumpers, but also jumped for joy after every one.

But perhaps the fan favorite was Hanna Homer. Her hard work and giving it her all, and that big smile, had everyone cheering for her, and although she missed this shot, it didn't matter to her.

Because she cheered anyway — just for taking the shot.

"She has really just shined. Her excitement, everything about here is just … she's always excited about this Special Olympics," her father, Aaron Homer, said.

Her parents have noticed a big difference in her since she joined this team. She's now the co-president of the youth activity committee for the state of Utah.

"I think just to see her take on a leadership role is just amazing," her mother Jana Homer said. "It's been so fun."

It's what the Special Olympics are all about: fun and building confidence.

Although Wasatch didn't win the game, it doesn't change anything.

"I love the people, I love my coaches. I just love being down here with them," Kollyn Heffernan with Wasatch Unified Basketball said.

Down here, winning isn't everything.

Heffernan is excited to go to Disney World.

Wasatch plays again Wednesday against Florida, the hometown team, but again, the wins and losses here don't matter. Even after Tuesday's game, they were still smiling and laughing as they left the court. They're truly just having fun.

Correction: An earlier version stated the players were from Tooele. That has been updated to Heber City.

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Alex Cabrero

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