March 9, 2016 // Local

Playing in the CYO is more than just about winning

Simon Baker, left, of St. Aloysius is shown with Cash Reuille, right, of the St. Rose-St. Louis Twins.

By Michelle Castleman

FORT WAYNE — With the regular season in the books and the tournament championship all wrapped up for another year, the matchup between St. Rose-St. Louis and St. Aloysius on Tuesday night, Feb. 23, had little meaning on paper, but was a pretty big deal for one particular player and his family. Not only was it eighth-grade recognition night, where players and their parents were honored at half court before the start of the game, but one last time for Cash Reuille to wear his school colors and a final time to shine on his home court, alongside his coaches and teammates in front of a gym full of family and fans.

Reuille was born with Down syndrome. After attending two other schools, the 15-year old die-hard Komets fan ended up at St. Louis Academy in New Haven for junior high where he was welcomed to the school’s joint basketball team with St. Rose, nicknamed the Twins.

Not only was Reuille encouraged to participate, but got some playing time in most every game and even made two baskets in the semifinals of the CYO tournament.

Assistant Coach Mike Palmer from St. Therese said it took little coaching from his bench for his players to drop off on defense and automatically clear the lane so Reuille would have an open look. After Reuille’s shot fell in, the entire gym went wild as he ran down the sideline high-fiving anyone in reach.

“It was just as much a highlight of the game for our guys too,” Palmer added.

Palmer’s team also gave the same opportunity to St. Aloysius’ seventh-grader Simon Baker, also born with Down syndrome, when they played each other during the season proving that playing in the CYO is more than just about winning or even learning the game of basketball.

In the postseason game against St. Aloysius, Reuille and Baker were selected to jump at center court in an attempt to get the opening tip. Fully understanding the challenges and extra effort it took from Cash’s coaches and teammates all season long, Reuille’s mother, Missy, tearfully summarized, “The whole experience has been very positive, one little blessing after another. It has been so heartwarming.”

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