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Athletes left to right: Mike Fugate, Jesses Peterson, Kyle Johnson, Colin Johnson, and Zach Pitzen, all of River Falls, pose after their award presentations.

KinniKids shine in hoops season

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Several members of the Kinnickinnic Special Olympics Organization, a local division of Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI), completed their 2012 basketball season last month. The season held several high-lights, including a mini-camp, team bonding night, and the tournament.

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It began with a mini-camp held at the YMCA in Hudson and was hosted by Jason Swavely, Hudson varsity boys basketball coach, and several of his varsity players.

In an effort to reinforce the skills these athletes need to compete in the Individual Skills portion of the Special Olympics of Wisconsin District Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 17, at UW-Stout, coach Swavely used drills to go over the fundamentals of dribbling, shooting, and passing the ball.

The highlight of the camp was a game between the Kinnickinnic Kids (KinniKids) and the Raiders. It's said that the KinniKids won the matchup.

Team Bonding Night was an opportunity to celebrate the athletes' success -- attending practices, always doing their best, supporting team member -- and to thank the families, volunteers, and those that support the athletes.

The culmination of the season was the Individual Skills portion of the Special Olympics of Wisconsin District Tournament in Menomonie Feb. 17. Each athlete was assessed in three areas -- accuracy in passing, speed and control in dribbling, and accuracy in shooting. All KinniKids athletes placed in the top six of their respective divisions.

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