ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — At that moment, it didn't matter that Megan Trilk was the cheerleading coach for Holy Family.
She, like everybody else in the gym, was pulling for St. Bernadette - and more specifically, for Adam Hilby.
Hilby, a 15-year-old with Down syndrome, entered the seventh-grade basketball game with just under two minutes remaining Tuesday night. The anticipation, as well as the noise level, grew as Hilby put up one shot, then another. Then, on his third attempt, he scored.
"It was the coolest thing," Trilk said. "The entire crowd was cheering for him and it took him some attempts to get it, but when he finally did, it was a like a thundering noise. It was very exciting."
St. Bernadette Coach Jimmy Krein has coached Hilby for the past three years and often gets him into games that have been decided. This season, Hilby hit a shot in a game against Keith in January. On Tuesday, Holy Family eventually pulled away and had a commanding lead over the Royals.
"Every time he goes in, the team likes to get him the ball to get some shots," Krein said. "They are very unselfish like that."
Johnny Frisella, 11, assisted Hilby on Tuesday's basket. Hilby's first shot hit the rim, while his second attempt went in and out.
"I got the rebound," Frisella said. "I was on the sideline, I jump-stopped and I gave him the ball."
Hilby shuffled forward - a clear travel that no one in the gym cared about, including the refs - and launched his 10-foot jumper.
"I knew he was going to make it," Frisella said.
When the buzzer shot fell, Hilby proceeded to skip down the court with his fist pumping.
"I was excited," he said.
What followed was a wave of high-fives and handshakes as fans from both teams - as well as those who were there for the next game - paraded to Hilby.
His parents, Kevin and Diane, were touched by what they saw.
"It was very heartwarming to see the reaction of everyone," Diane said. "It was exciting to see how everyone was happy for him to make that little accomplishment and that they saw the joy he had making it."
Source: The Rockford Register Star: http://bit.ly/1eyyptl
Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com