When it comes to basketball, the Montrose Special Olympics hoops team puts in the effort to get ready for game day.
The team, The Hot Shots, works on pick and rolls, setting screens and its defense and even has one inbound pass it will run — but just one — coach Bobby Walker, jokingly emphasized.
“It takes a lot of work,” Walker said, adding he’s been with the same players for five years. “I’ve been able to work with the same seven players over that time. … They’ve been hanging with me and they're doing really well.”
The Hot Shots are now preparing to take on some of the best local high school athletes later this week.
The Montrose Special Olympics basketball team, which is composed of adults, will have a rematch against a Montrose High School All-Star squad at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the Columbine Middle School gym.
The annual charitable hoops game, in its second year, benefits both the Montrose Special Olympics basketball program and Sharing Ministries Food Bank.
“This game here is just awesome,” Walker said. “This time of the year is pretty awesome for me.”
Walker praised the high school athletes last year who participated, saying they had positive interactions with The Hot Shot players.
That was apparent during the first meeting between both teams.
Montrose athletes smiled and high-fived when the Hot Shots scored, showing they were having fun, too. The high school students celebrated with the Special Olympics team when one of them would hit a 3-pointer or drive the ball to the hoop for a layup.
The Hot Shots have two groups, an A and a B team, which will play at different times during the game. Walker said the A team is made up of players who are more adaptable to compete while the B unit is less so.
Walker’s history in basketball entails coaching at different stops along the way including time in Ouray before moving to Montrose.
Walker credited Dave Simmons, an MHS assistant boys coach, in putting the game together here, where it was held at Columbine and mostly run by Montrose High School staff.
“(Simmons) has helped so much,” Walker said. “He’s amazing. He deserves the credit. … None of this would have happened if not for Dave Simmons.”
Walker said when he coached a similar competition in Ouray, Simmons saw the game and remarked that such a contest could also be in Montrose.
The upcoming game won’t be the Montrose Special Olympics only one this month.
The Hot Shots will compete from March 20-21 in the state tournament in Denver. Walker hopes to see the team come away with a gold medal.