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‘It was organic:’ Members of rival basketball teams cheered when boy with disabilities scored during game

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DENVER -- At Florida Pitt Waller Middle School in northeast Denver, you'll find plenty of students having a ball, especially when they get to play against their rivals -- the boys basketball team at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

"So it`s always a big game," said Shurrod Maxey, coach at Dr. Martin Luther Kin Jr. Middle School. "Always a rivalry. Always fun for both sides."

Both teams consist of talented players, but MLK's team has Mark Hulett.

"I just love it!" said Hulett. "I just love it, man."

Hulett, who lives with a disability, has played basketball since elementary school.

"Yeah, fourth grade because that's when I started playing basketball with him," said Justus Michael, captain of the Florida Pitt Waller basketball team.

In fact, he used to play with a couple of the kids on his rival's team.

"Our students really love him on the team," said Coach Maxey.

Hulett doesn't get to play too often, so when the big rivalry game happened on Tuesday, Dec. 17, a lot of people were surprised to see what happened at the end of the game.

"It was organic," said Coach Maxey. "It definitely wasn't expected."

As Florida Pitt Waller wrapped things up with a 49-27 win, Hulett's teammates at MLK threw him the ball.

"The crowd was overheated," said Michael. "We just wanted him to score very badly, like all the fans wanted, too."

"Right as the buzzer was about to go, he put up a shot, made it, and you wouldn't have known who won the game," said Brandon Jenkins, coach at Florida Pitt Waller Middle School. "We all thought Mark won the game at that point. It was awesome."

It was true sportsmanship, brought to you by a group of amazing eighth-graders.

"I just wanted him to achieve his dreams," said Michael.

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