Oklahoma Basketball Teams Help Teammate With Autism Score During Championship Game

Monday, January 25th 2021, 10:38 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

ENID, Okla. -

There was a very special moment on the basketball court this weekend in Enid. 

During the 97th Skeltur Basketball Tournament Saturday, teams from Waukomis and Garber paused at the end of the game to help a Waukomis player with autism score. 

Waukomis High School Freshman Elisandro Rivera has yet to come down from the weekend high when Coach Allen Hicks let him play in the last minute of the game. 

“I didn’t think he was going to make it; I knew he was going to make it,” said Hicks. “Because Elisandro has done this before and been in this situation. I knew he was going to make one, I just didn’t know how long it was going to take him to make it.” 

Rivera was diagnosed with autism around 5-years-old. 

Friends, family, and a stadium of spectators watched in awe as both teams set competitiveness aside for compassion. 

“It was just overwhelming, overwhelming for him,” said Hicks. “The joy for him making his shot and then also you look at how other guys are reacting on the bench and that even adds to the moment, the emotion, just how bad they are wanting Elisandro to succeed in that moment.” 

Rivera’s family can’t watch the video, circulating quickly online, enough times. They said Rivera’s love for basketball only started over a year ago. 

“He’s always at the school, last one in the gym, first one here,” said Brian Horton, Rivera’s father. “He’s always at the town park shooting hoops.” 

Rivera’s parents are happy to see their son be just another one of the guys, knowing this is only the beginning.  

“I told him, ‘thank you for putting me in for a few seconds,’” said Rivera. 

“Kids with autism, they are no different than anyone else,” said Horton. “Treat him like you would treat anybody, let him play sports.” 

Hicks told News 9 to look for plenty of more “Elisandro moments” in the future.