Sportsmanship shines bright on Gainesville-Van Alstyne

Gainesville's greatest shot
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 11:06 PM CST
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GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) -The term “sportsmanship” can have a different definition depending on who you ask. One way to summarize the word is an action by a player or term done with no regard to the outcome of a game. When the Van Alstyne Panthers boys basketball visited the Gainesville Leopard last Friday, sportsmanship was on full display.

Bill Cummins is a senior as Gainesville and also has cerebral palsy. Despite his condition, Bill has found ways to be a part of Leopards Athletics. On Friday against Van Alstyne, Bill was told to suit up.

“We called him to the locker room and we had his jersey sitting there and we said come on Bill, you’re suiting out,” said Gainesville basketball coach Jeffery Wolf.

”It was like a state championship game,” said Gainesville senior Cason Evans. “Everybody was excited, everybody was clapping.”

Bill scored two baskets in the final minute of the game, include one off of a steal.

”For him to make the shot and then dribbling down, it just worked out so perfectly,” said coach Wolf. “The excitement in everybody’s faces, that’s what it’s all about.”

”I liked seeing the smile on his face and I just wanted to do the best I can so he can remember that memory for the rest of his life,” said Van Alstyne junior Nicolas Castillo, who Bill stole the ball from before his final bucket.

”I wanted him to know that that was exciting and that what he did was an awesome job,” said coach Wolf.

”We love him when he comes on the bus rides. We love when he comes to the games,” said Evans. “It would feel different without him.”

”There was a bunch of tears,” said Van Alstyne’s basketball coach Russell Best. “You could tell that it touched everybody and that it was a cool minute and four seconds for Bill and for Gainesville and for the Van Alstyne family as well.”

Those 64 seconds not only made positive impact on Bill, but also sent a much louder message.

”Every kid has a place,” said Wolf. “Everybody can have a part. No matter if you’re the most talent student in one aspect or not. Everybody has a role.”

Friday’s game between the Leopards and Panthers ultimately won’t be remembered by the number on the scoreboard. It will be remembered for the impact it had on not only Bill, but everyone that played a part in making it happen.

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