If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to be part of an activity in which the group effort makes you feel like you belong, then you get the thrill of watching Mason Doherty play basketball.
Doherty’s hard work with his teammates on the St. Peter High School boys basketball team over nine years shows every time that he nails the 3-pointers he’s known for.
Doherty has Down syndrome, and it is the generosity and bonds with his teammates that has made his senior season a triumph in so many ways. When the school year began, Doherty’s teammates, along with their coach, made a conscious decision that he was not only going to be on the varsity squad, but he was going to also get playing time.
Being the tallest forward, the fastest dribbler or best rebounder aren’t the only important parts of being on this local team. Working hard, doing your best and building connections are — and these young men made that their shared goal. They also have shown kids across the Midwest and beyond what selflessness is, often giving up the ball to Doherty when they could have taken shots themselves, even other players who don’t get much game time.
During a recent high school basketball tournament in North Dakota, Doherty hit one 3-pointer and then another in the closing minutes of the game. The crowd went wild, including the fans and members of the opposing team.
The video of that game and all the attention it’s gotten are exciting — and so very heartwarming. But everyone on the St. Peter team knew that Doherty was capable because they’d spent years with him on and off the court and they’d witnessed his successful 3-pointers plenty of times. He was one of them and they did everything in their power to make sure his senior year is best it could be.
The teammates, still in their teens, show a maturity well beyond their years. They already know that game scores aren’t what they’ll remember the most when it comes to playing basketball at St. Peter High School.