WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – In Weatherford, they are calling it a “night to remember.”
The Weatherford High School freshmen basketball team was on the court, playing Arlington Bowie High School.
A ninth-grader attends almost all of the school’s home games, but has never gotten to play — until Monday.
Student J.R. Wise has autism. “He shows up during athletics period, and he’s good friends with the players,” freshman coach Ricky Beaty said in a school press release. “So, I let him suit up each game.”
Beaty had always intended to let Wise play in at least one game. “I had been planning on getting him in all year,” he said. “About a week ago, I received a text from one of my players, Brett Blevins, asking if there was any way we could get him in the game, and that he wanted to be the one to pass the ball to J.R.”
The Weatherford coach discussed the situation with Arlington Bowie’s coach ahead of the game, but then there was a problem.
The Kangaroos were down 43-44 with just over a minute to play. Beaty had a call to make, and it was to put Wise in the game.
As the crowd waited with anticipation, Wise took his position near the free throw line and took an in-bound pass. Wise turned, shot and watched as the ball swished through the basket. “He drained it,” Beaty said.
Bowie took the ball as the clock continued to run. The Weatherford team only had four players on the court. Wise had returned to the bench, Beaty said.
Bowie never scored again, giving Wise the winning shot.
The next day, one school administrator called it “a truly inspiring moment.”
You can follow Giles Hudson on Twitter @CBS11Giles.