British Columbia

Video of 3-pointer by student with Down syndrome goes viral

Port Moody student Reid Demelo has become a social media sensation after draining a three-point shot during a basketball tournament Friday. Demelo, a Grade 12 student at Heritage Woods Secondary has Down syndrome and volunteers as the senior boys team manager.

Port Moody student Reid Demelo sinks shot at recent tournament, thrilling fans, players

Reid Demelo, 18, captured the world's attention over social media after sinking a 3-point basketball shot at his high school on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 (Jana Demelo)

Port Moody student Reid Demelo has become a social media sensation after draining a three-point shot during a basketball tournament Friday.

And the principal of his high school says the moment is a good example of school spirit and the inclusion of others.

Demelo, a Grade 12 student at Heritage Woods Secondary has Down syndrome and volunteers as the senior boys team manager.

But the 18-year-old has also played basketball since since he was five said his mother Jana Demelo, a PE teacher.

He has a 15-year-old brother who plays hockey and their mother says the two are always pushing each other.

As the team manager, Demelo does not normally play in the games but according to the school's principal Todd Clerkson is well-known at the school for his passion for sports.

'Chanting for him'

"He's a very popular student at the school and the kids get excited,"  Clerkson said. "He was sitting on the bench and they were chanting for him to get in the game."

Heritage Woods hosts the Kodiak Klassic basketball tournament each year, which attracts the best high school basketball teams from around the province for pre-season games.

On Friday, Heritage Woods was playing Kitsilano Secondary at the tournament. Near the end of the game, with Heritage Woods set to win, Clerkson said Demelo put on a jersey and got on the court.

On a fast break he was passed the ball by a teammate, then sunk a three-point shot.

Demelo' teammates, along with people in the crowd then chased him around the court to celebrate the basket.

Clerkson says he wasn't surprised by the reaction.

"Reid's a very big personality at our school," he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all to be honest. I knew everyone would be really excited for him. It was a great moment."

Jana Demelo says she appreciated the reaction of all the students.

"How much they support him and just love him as a kid and appreciate who he is basically," she said.

Classy Kitsilano Secondary

Demelo and Clerkson both said that they were also was impressed with his school's opponent in the game, Kitsilano Secondary, for allowing Reid to come into the game and to shoot with no interference.

"It's just a good example of school spirit and inclusion," said Clerkson. "You've got competitors coming together but putting things aside to do something really important that's kind of bigger than the game itself."

Since videos of the shot began popping up online, they have been shared thousands of times. Clerkson says Demelo is loving it.

"He's super excited. He knows all about the social media attention and he loves it. He loves the associated fame."

Reid Demelo's mother says he loves the school and doesn't want to have to leave when he graduates. She says he plans to get some work experience and take classes at a local college.

She says her son loves being around people.

"He's engaging. He's got a great sense of humour,"  she said. "He loves people, he wants to be around people, he's always cracking jokes. He's always working the crowd."

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