The South Whidbey Wind 1 are the state Special Olympics champion in the basketball skill division. Back row, left to right: Ambria Labadens-Willis and Zoe Thompson; front row: Stacie Lanners, Julietta Cedar, Ryan Hagar, Dagny Schellenberg and coach Steve Thompson. (Submitted photo)

The South Whidbey Wind 1 are the state Special Olympics champion in the basketball skill division. Back row, left to right: Ambria Labadens-Willis and Zoe Thompson; front row: Stacie Lanners, Julietta Cedar, Ryan Hagar, Dagny Schellenberg and coach Steve Thompson. (Submitted photo)

SW Wind 1 works overtime to bring home gold / Special Olympics

For the second time in three years, the South Whidbey Wind 1 won a gold medal in the basketball skills division of the Washington State Special Olympics March 1-3 in Wenatchee.

The Wind also took gold in 2017; they claimed silver last winter.

It took the Wind a bit of luck to get to the state tournament. Wind 1 actually finished second to their partners, South Whidbey Wind 2, in the subregional tournament.

Snow wiped the regional tournament, so a drawing was held to determine state qualifiers and Wind 1 got the lucky pull.

In the basketball skills division, five players are stationed at designated spots around the key. Each round they attempt a bounce pass to each team member, with the last pass going to the shooter, who is stationed just inside the free throw line. Each good pass and each clean catch is worth one point each, and the basket is worth two. A round with no errors and a successful shot earns a bonus point. The players rotate spots so all eventually shoot.

The Wind 1 earned a 98-85 win in their first game and tied 89-89 in their second, setting up the championship game.

The two teams were tied after regulation and the Wind claimed the match in sudden death overtime by completing their first round with no mistakes and a successful shot by Julietta Cedar.

In addition to Cedar, the champions include Dagny Schellenberg, Ambria Labadens-Willis, Ryan Hagar, Zoe Thompson and Stacie Lanners.

Wind 1 is coached by Steve Thompson.

Coach Thompson lauded the organizers and said his athletes enjoyed the total experience from the opening ceremonies to the hotel stay to the concluding dance.

The subregional champion South Whidbey Wind 2 includes Nicky Whitehouse, Connor Weaver, Dylan Matros Bartkowski, Alek Taylor-Hope, Lucas Etzell and Matteo Uhl.