WINCHESTER, Mass. — A Winchester High School student who has never let his disability get in the way of accomplishing anything started in his very first basketball game Thursday and sank the best shot of the game.
Henry Wilhoite, 18, was equally nervous and excited as he entered the game on Senior Night. He had tried out for the basketball team as a freshman and didn’t make the team. Although he was disappointed, he was committed to the team and became team manager for the freshman, junior varsity and finally varsity team.
But on Thursday night, in a show of hard work, good sportsmanship and teamwork, Henry caught a pass and nailed an impressive three-pointer, setting the crowd wild.
“It was a pretty special moment and a very emotional moment for myself and my sister and mom,” Henry told Boston 25 News Friday. “It made me feel like I’m part of a team.”
In the stands along with Henry’s mother, Branda, and his younger sister, Grace, were his father, Randy, and his older brother, Jack. The family erupted in cheers.
“The shot was amazing, because it was at least four feet beyond the three-point line, and he banked it off the glass,” Branda said. “So he really put some oomph into that shot.”
“I don’t think anybody could believe he shot it that far back and he hit it,” Randy said. “And the reaction by the crowd and everybody was amazing. It was like he won the game with that shot.”
Winchester did win the game, not by three points, but by 20. Perhaps Henry’s shot gave his team the momentum to defeat Lexington.
The video Branda shot of her son’s three-pointer was shared by many on social media. Friends the Wilhoites hadn’t seen in years reached out, inspired by Henry’s accomplishment.
Henry expressed appreciation for his teammates, the fans and especially his coach, John Fleming, for giving him the opportunity and making his senior year so special.
“I love him, I praise him and, with all my heart, I support him,” Henry said of Fleming.
But the special moment didn’t belong only to Henry; it was inspirational for the entire community.
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