Everyone wins at this hoop tourney

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At one point in the second half, Roger Nasset used his right forearm to wipe some of the sweat off his forehead.

“Hands and shoulders,” the Kalispell Chief of Police said afterwards of what hurts the most.

“Everyone leaves here with blisters and sore shoulders, but always with a smile.”

Nasset’s team — Kalispell Police — lost to Ralph’s Team 32-24 in loser-out action Saturday afternoon at the 27th annual Special Friends Big Wheels Basketball Tournament at Edgerton Elementary School. Kalispell Police finished 2-2.

Nasset was competing in this event for the 26th time.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said of the games.

“You don’t realize how taxing it is on the upper body.”

Games consisted of two 20-minute halves.

Ten teams were competing in this fundraiser for the Special Friends Advocacy Program.

Action started at 8 a.m. and was capped off with the championship game at 5 p.m. with Kalispell Firefighters edging Medical Waist 38-36 in overtime.

Greg Daenzer led the winners with 14 points. David Sturzen had 12 for Medical Waist.

“What makes it so much fun is everyone here is laughing and smiling the whole time,” Nasset said.

“Great interaction with great people.”

Nasset was joined on his team by sons Trey, who is 22, and Brett, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Kalispell Middle School.

Trey has been playing in this event for 10 years.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming out and playing in this,” Roger said.

“We make a family event out of this.”

Another son, Brady, has also played in previous years.

“It’s nice to give back and enjoy the Special Olympians,” Roger said.

“They have always been good supporters of the police.”

He said pictures of previous tournament games are on display at the police department.

“They always bring back a lot of memories,” he said.

Ralph Martin, 61, of Troy was the oldest participant. This marked at least his 22nd appearance in this competition.

His team — Ralph’s Team — lived to play on for another game with the victory over Kalispell Police.

“I’ve always brought a team,” he said.

“I just like to get together with the guys.”

Although Martin did not score, he spent a good portion of the contest versus Kalispell Police on the court passing and playing defense.

“For me, wheel chair basketball was something that let me play basketball with my kids,” he said.

“I want to keep the program going. It’s a fundraiser. You can’t do enough to help people with disabilities.”

His son Sol, 34, was also on the court with him Saturday. Last year his daughter Sjaan, 32, participated.

“We’ve won this several times,” he said.

“(The last time) was maybe seven, eight years ago.”

Ralph’s Team also had the youngest player — 10-year-old Elizabeth Hardy.

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