ALEX HENRY

Senior • 5-10 • Forward

The record books will indicate a blowout loss to a state-ranked team. But numbers alone won’t reveal the special moment that unfolded in the final moments of the boys’ basketball game Friday night between Houston and Hartville.

It began with just a few minutes remaining. The final outcome had long been decided as the Tigers were well behind. It was time to make substitutions, and the HHS student section began chanting, “Alex! Alex!” for senior Alex Henry, who is developmentally challenged. Coach Rob Coffey obliged as he sent Alex and two others to the scorer’s table.

After a few possessions, Alex was fouled while making a pass and stepped to the free-throw line. Alex missed both shots. It didn’t matter. During a timeout before his two attempts, Hartville devised a plan to let him score.

On the next trip down the court, the Hartville players cleared the lane as Alex began taking shots at the goal. His first few missed, but he got his own rebound and kept firing. When the ball bounced off the backboard and through the net, the crowds for both teams cheered loudly. Especially Alex’s classmates in the student section.

Hartville intentionally turned the ball over on its next possession. Alex’s teammates gave him the ball on the right wing just beyond the 3-point line. After his first shot missed, Keegan Spurlin grabbed the rebound and passed it back to Alex. He took three dribbles backwards, set his feet and fired another 3. This one swished through the net with just seconds remaining.

Hiett Gymnasium erupted in cheers and the buzzer sounded. Players from both teams clapped for Alex and congratulated him with hugs and handshakes.

The final score was 72-39 as Hartville, ranked fourth in Class 3, improved to 17-2.

But the most important number was five – representing the two baskets by Alex Henry on a night those who witnessed it will never forget.

Superintendent Scott Dill, who at halftime kissed a pig during a night that included Hoop Queen coronation and a performance by the HHS cheerleaders, posted on social media the next morning how special the moment had been.

“Our lives are measured in moments. Some are fleeting and others are interminable,” Dill wrote. “Some moments require you to change. Other moments change you forever. Last night we had a moment that changed us. All of us.”

After the game, Alex told his mother, Christy, that he was extremely nervous. But he also said he felt “amazing.”

“I was in tears at the magnitude of kindness that was shown to my son from his teammates and from the Hartville team and coaching staff,” Christy Henry said. “All I could say to him at the time was I was so proud of him. It caused so much joy and happiness for my son, and for that I am beyond thankful.”

BOX SCORES

VARSITY

Friday’s game

Hartville       25    17    23    6    –    72 
Houston    11      12      8      8      –      39 

HARTVILLE (72) – Zach Keith 2. Grant Dedmon 3. Deric Jones 2. Shade Piper 19. Hunter Simmons 13. Richie Wilson 8. Jamison VerPloeg 2. Seth Hensley 14. Houston Johnson 8. F 32. FT 2-8. F 16. (3-pointers: Dedmon, Piper, Simmons. Fouled out: none).

HOUSTON (39) – Dylan Hooper 10. Nathan Poynter 3. Devin Coulter 8. Aaron Cantrell 8. Alex Henry 5. Kolby Walker 5. FG 13. FT 9-15. F 12. (3-pointers: Hooper 2, Henry. Fouled out: none).

Thursday’s game

Houston       4      17      14      13      –      48   
Seymour    14    17    11    13      56

HOUSTON (48) – Dylan Hooper 3. Nathan Poynter 6. Devin Coulter 14. Aaron Cantrell 11. Kolby Walker 8. Keegan Spurlin 6. FG 18. FT 8-12. F 11. (3-pointers: Poynter 2, Hooper, Coulter. Fouled out: none. Technical foul: Walker).

SEYMOUR (56) – Cortland Yates 6. Chad Sturdefant 24. Chris Haywood 3. Landon Bell 8. Taylor Rodrock 13. FG 22. FT 7-17. F 14. (3-pointers: Rodrock 2, Sturdefant). 

Last Tuesday’s game

Houston       3      14      20      17      –      54   
Licking    18    11    25    22    –     76 

HOUSTON (54) – Dylan Hooper 7. Nathan Poynter 7. Devin Coulter 15. Aaron Cantrell 9. Kolby Walker 9. Keegan Spurlin 7. FG 20. FT 11-16. F 11. (3-pointers: Hooper, Poynter, Walker. Fouled out: none).

LICKING (76) – Jake Hood 11. Lane Duncan 31. Nathan Wilson 10. Zach Melton 16. Blake Heithold 6. Jacob Lane 2. FG 33. FT 6-8. F 12. (3-pointers: Melton 2, Hood, Wilson. Fouled out: none).

JUNIOR VARSITY

Friday’s game

Hartville      20    18    11    14      63 
Houston         5      13      10      4      –      32   

HOUSTON (32) – Lucas Kelley 2. Trevor Motzkus 3. Dylan Coulter 2. Kobe Sutton 11. Skylur Malam 8. Cameron Root 6. FG 13. FT 3-5. F 21. (3-pointers: Sutton 2, Motzkus. Fouled out: Adkison).

Thursday’s game

Houston        8      7      8      15      3      2      –      43   
Seymour    14    10    7    7    3    4    –    45 

HOUSTON (43) – Lucas Kelley 2. Dylan Coulter 6. Caleb Adkison 4. Kobe Sutton 18. Skylur Malam 8. Dylan Hooper 5. FG 17. FT 5-6. F 20. (3-pointers: Sutton 3, Hooper. Fouled out: Adkison).

Last Tuesday’s game

Houston         7      10      11      16      –      42   
Licking    12    16    9    8    –    47 

HOUSTON (42) – Lucas Kelley 11. Dylan Coulter 6. Caleb Adkison 6. Kobe Sutton 15. Skylur Malam 4. FG 14. FT 9-14. F 19. (3-pointers: Sutton 5. Fouled out: Coulter).

Our lives are measured in moments. Some are fleeting and others are interminable. Some moments require you to change. Other moments change you forever. Last night we had a moment that changed us. All of us.”

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