Michigan middle schooler's clutch 3-point shot makes headlines locally, nationally

Published On: Jan 24 2013 06:45:06 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 24 2013 07:25:31 PM EST

Owen Groesser, who has Down syndrome, was put into the Rochester Hills Van Hoosen Middle School basketball game with two minutes left.

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -

It was the last game of the seventh-grade basketball season -- the Rochester Hills Van Hoosen Middle School Viking’s versus Boulan Park Broncos.

Late in the first half Wednesday, coach Jeff Howell put 13- year-old Owen Groesser into the game.

Groesser has Down syndrome and typically serves as the team's manager. But with two minutes left in the game, it was No. 32's time to shine.

“He never misses a practice,” said coach Jeff Howell. “He actually shows up more than my regular players, he loves it and we love him."  

Howell and the team came up with special plays for Owen, that would allow him to take his famous three-point shot. But Groesser not only made one, but two three-point baskets, giving his team the lead to win the game. 

“It’s really, really, really easy for me, that shot,” Owen said. 

And it was all caught on tape.

Owen's bball shot

“I knew he could do it,” said Owen’s dad, Chris. “He loves the game, I wasn’t surprised I was thrilled.” 

Little did Owen know that what started out as about 20 eighth-graders cheering for him turned into thousands of others tweeting for him with the hashtag, “#GetOwenOnSportsCentervideo.

The video went viral.

The next thing the Groesser’s knew, their son had made ESPN’s top 10 plays. 

“We got home and put on SportsCenter and at 11:54 p.m. there was Owen as the No. 10 play of the day,” said Owen’s mom, Karrie. “We couldn’t believe it and you could hear someone in the background say that should be number one." 

That top ESPN 10 moment will always be number one to the Groessers, but for Karrie and Chris their happiness has nothing to do with winning. 

“Van Hoosen Middle School students and players have never treated Owen like the kid with Down syndrome, he’s always just been Owen and we couldn’t ask for anything more,” Karrie said. 

Owen will move on to Adams High School in Rochester Hills this fall for his freshman year where he plans to wrestle, play football and continue his basketball career.

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