It was a 10-foot shot late in a victory, but the 2 points Sainora Dokoche scored last week showed sportsmanship is alive and well in western Minnesota.
The emotional moment is detailed in a thank you letter the MSHSL shared on its Facebook page, from Ryan Giles – head coach of Dokoche's Lac qui Parle Valley team – to the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg squad.
With about a minute left in the Dec. 12 game, Giles subbed in Dokoche. The freshman – 4-foot-10 and wearing No. 55 – came in and sank the 10-foot shot, bringing the players on the court and the crowd to a point of emotional celebration.
Dokoche has Down syndrome, but as Giles wrote, "loves to shoot hoops."
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"A true act of sportsmanship was displayed by your Fighting Saints Girls Basketball Program and our dream came true for Sainora when she was allowed to shoot a basket," Giles wrote.
When Dokoche got into the game, the K-M-S squad allowed her to shoot the basket (with the refs not seeing a double dribble or travel) and experience the thrill of high school sports. They were her first varsity points, KLQP Radio notes.
Giles' letter continued:
"That was great but even better was the reaction of your five girls on the floor, your girls and coaches on the bench and all the Saint fans in the stands when they cheered along with the LqPV players, coaches and fans. ...
KMS Fighting Saints, you earned your school community a lot of respect. You guys lived up to your mascot. KMS players, coaches and fans in attendance were 'Saints', 'Fighting' for someone not as fortunate but blessed the same as all of us!"
The Eagles are 3-0 this season, according to Minnesota-Scores.net.