An Inside Look at Unified Basketball

Kelly Gavagan '23, Staff Writer

Titan Mckenzie ’23 running into the South gymnasium (gym teacher Kathy Smith).
(Kelly Gavagan ’23)

Titian Mckenzie

One of the starting players on the unified basketball team, Titan Mckenzie ’23, scored 12 points by shooting jump shots in the heat of the rival game against Grosse Pointe North on Jan. 27.

Though his success was created not just from Mckezies talent but from the coaching and support from teammates and peers.

“I felt very excited when I ran through (the gym) and everyone was cheering, I thought it was pretty cool and not overwhelming,” Mckenzie said.

The support from people in the community helped Mckenzie to perform his best.

“I love when the crowds cheer, then I feel powerful,” Mckenzie said.

Though they lost the game, the unified basketball team used their passion to help fuel them to win another rival game against Grosse Pointe North on Feb. 7.

“I felt sad that North won and South lost, but everyone played well,” Mckenzie said. “I’m very excited for the next game.”


Dante Ormond ’26 posing before a Unified Basketball game (gym teacher Kathy Smith). (Kelly Gavagan ’23)

Donte Ormond

Donte Ormond ’26 is running into this season with a slam dunk. He said the unified basketball team is a fun way for him to brush up on his basketball skills as well as connect with his friends.

“My favorite part about the team are my teammates,” Ormond said. “But I also like free throws. They feel amazing.”

Ormond has a love and appreciation for the sport that he enjoys expressing with his friends after school and showing off to the community.

“I really like to play defense and shoot the ball,” Ormond said.

Despite his love of basketball, he chooses not to limit himself to one sport and has plans to play baseball in the spring.

“I like basketball a lot, but I’m excited to be playing baseball in the spring,” Ormond said.




Ian Krieger ’23 after scoring a two point free throw at the North vs South unified basketball game (gym teacher Kathy Smith). (Kelly Gavagan ’23)

Ian Krieger

The roaring crowds welcome each and every player and cheerleader as they pool into the gym.

“I get nervous when everyone comes, it’s awesome but very loud,” Ian Krieger ’23 said.

Part of what makes the Unified Basketball team so awesome to Krieger are the coaches.

“My favorite part is shooting the ball and dribbling and when Trevor shoots with me, “ Krieger said.

Trevor Beck, a former member of the unified basketball team, is now assisting coaching the team and making a big impact on many of the teammates, according to Mckenzie, Ormond and Krieger. The unified basketball team made such a positive impact on Beck the year before, he decided to come back and help coach, according to gym teacher Cathy Smith.

When all of that practicing with Beck and his teammates pays off, Krieger likes to celebrate by doing a handshake with his peers.

“I do a pound it, knock it, see ya, boom,” Krieger said. “That’s how I like to celebrate.”

The unified basketball team has brought students together to connect over shared interests and a common goal, making the team feel like family, according to Krieger.

“It’s awesome,” Krieger said. “I like it, and I like hanging out with my family.”