PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University men's basketball team will participate in the Jacob's Bridge Through Autism Basketball Classic Tuesday at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.
The event annually features four NCAA Division III schools from the Granite State. Plymouth State (2-2) will take on Colby-Sawyer College (2-2) at 7:30 p.m., following the Keene State (3-2) vs. New England College (1-5) match-up at 5:30 p.m.
"It's a tournament we look forward to playing in every year," said KSC Coach Rob Colbert. "Having four in-state teams together in one venue is a nice opportunity to showcase Division III basketball. Many of the players know each other, so that certainly adds to the competitive nature of the games."
However, the tournament, which began in 2000, isn't just about basketball. It's also an opportunity to spread awareness about autism, a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.
Jacob's Bridge Through Autism was founded by Susan and PSU Coach John Scheinman when their son Jacob was diagnosed at two, but we were left with a diagnosis, but no true path to take. "We had so many roadblocks in our way, but knew there was something out there for our son," writes Susan Scheinman on their website JBTAUTISM.ORG. "Along the way we found many people to help us lead the way. Our son Jacob will always be autistic, but he is priceless. Over the past nine years we have found many doctors, therapies, and other interventions to help us bridge the gap for our son."
"It's basketball for a worthwhile cause," said Colbert. "Everyone involved in the event is extremely happy to show their support for Jacob's Bridge and to see Jacob and how well he's doing makes it's even more special."
"I am honored that my peers have chosen Jacob's Bridge and the cause Autism Awareness for our Annual DIII event showcasing N.H. Basketball.," said John Scheinman. "It's always a special day for Susan and I and heartfelt thank you to all the coaches and New Hampshire Tech for their efforts and generosity."
The Owls have fared very well in the tournament, boasting a perfect 8-0 record, while the Panthers are 7-1. The only loss came in 2004 to Colby-Sawyer.
"We've been fortunate to bring some pretty talented teams over there," said Colbert. "This year's group in large part has never played in the tournament, so it will be a new challenge. With the Thanksgiving break over, I think the players are anxious to get back on the court and see where they stand at this stage of the season."
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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