Local basketball players raise money for Special Olympics

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

STERLING, Illinois-- Three rival basketball teams took the court to play together in efforts to raise money for the special needs group Beyond Twin City.

Instead of wearing their school colors they sported bright yellow t-shirts with the Beyond Twin City logo.

The idea first came after Sterling senior and basketball player Tyler Willman heard the group needed help with funding.

"My grandma said to me that her hairdresser has a son with down syndrome and he's on the Special Olympics team and that they were running low on money," said Willman.

From there Willman and the Beyond Twin City group decided to get together and hold a basketball fundraiser.

Willman contacted surrounding schools, Rock Falls High School and Newman Central Catholic High School, and they agreed it would be a good idea.

"It's good for everyone to have a chance to go out and play the sport that they love," said Willman.

Together the three high school teams and Beyond Twin City formed teams to compete with each other in a few friendly games of basketball.

The benefit game was also a chance to play side by side with students from other schools for the first time. Willman, and the other members of the basketball teams got the chance to meet and play with Beyond Twin City members like Tyler Johnson, who also enjoys playing basketball and other sports.

"This is an outstanding experience for our kids because typically they are on court with other special needs adults and children where as today they actually get to play with their peers," said Ann Walters, Johnson's mother.

Before the games even started they were able to raise 1000 dollars from local sponsors in the community, and they hope to continue to raise even more.

The money will go to travel expenses, equipment, a team banner, and other expenses.