Lakeside sophomore Michael Hendricks, Jr., is among his basketball team’s hardest workers and most passionate players.
On Wednesday, in Lakeside’s Chagrin Valley Conference matchup against visiting Geneva, Hendricks finally had his opportunity to contribute to the team’s on-court success when he drained his second jump shot attempt of the game to the wild applause from everyone in attendance.
“It felt amazing to score for our team,” said Hendricks, or ‘Mikie,’ as he is affectionately known.
Despite limited mobility of his right hand due to Cerebral Palsy, Hendricks has attended every practice and every game. He has met every other expectation of a Lakeside basketball player.
And when the opportunity presented itself, his coaches and teammates made sure his opportunity turned into a moment he’ll never forget.
“Everyone was really proud of him,” said Lakeside’s Alex DiSalvatore. “We were waiting for this to happen. He’s always there for us. He deserved it.”
Hendricks wasted little time attacking the hoop.
After receiving the tip-off in the backcourt, he dribbled through the lane and let loose a shot that hit the back of the rim and spun into the hands of a teammate, who kicked the rebound back to Hendricks under the hoop.
This time, the shooter’s bounce went his way and he scored the first two points of his career.
“It meant a lot to me because he shows up every day and works his hardest,” said Lakeside senior Ashton Wheelock. “It’s heartwarming.”
Lakeside head coach Matt Newsome has worked hard to develop a strong culture around his program and Mikie’s moment on the court went a long way in developing an impenetrable bond around the Dragon players.
“Mikie is an integral part of the team,” Newsome said. “His presence is not only good for Mikie, but even better for the boys. We rally behind him at every practice.”