Cinnaminson High School bringing together student body through 'Play Unified'

CINNAMINSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (WPVI) -- A South Jersey high school played host to a series of basketball games Thursday night, at least one of which won't soon be forgotten, least of all by those who got to play it.

Play Unified is a basketball team at Cinnaminson High School comprised of mostly special education student-athletes.

"Tonight is the first time our Play Unified basketball team will be playing alongside our girls' varsity team and our boys' varsity team," said Coach Kelsey Rella. "It's a big deal because it speaks to the inclusive environment that's been fostered here at Cinnaminson."

For Paige Mehlberger, it's a chance to be part of a team. She's legally blind but scores just about every game.

"With the ball with the bell I can actually hear balls coming," she says. "The last game I did not use the ball because it was really loud, but for home games I use it."

Each drive has three Play Unified players and two partners on the court.

"Give the ball to everyone, sharing the sugar-- that's my motto," said Michael D'Agostiano, a junior with Play Unified.

"As a partner, your job is to facilitate the game, make sure everything is running smoothly. You want to give the athletes their moments to shine. You want to make them feel like the stars of the game," said Tim Clements, a senior at Cinnaminson High. "When you give them a pass and they make a shot and the crowd goes crazy- it feels like a varsity game and they're smiling ear to ear, that's the best part."

"This helps me feel more included because all my friends are there to support me," said Mehlberger.

Follow us on YouTube
Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.