Local basketball team heads to Special Olympics state championship

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - As basketball season winds down, a local team is preparing to take their talents to the big stage. The Lucas County Lightning is heading to the state championships of the Special Olympics for the second year in a row.

The team is made up of just eight players but each of them knows what it's like to bounce back from adversity.

"I'm just grateful to be playing basketball at this point," says Antrone Williams, better known to his teammates as "Juice." The 37-year-old suffered a massive stroke in 2012 and was left with limited mobility on his left side, unable to walk or talk for months. Now he's been playing with the Lightning for two years.

"I am at a loss for words, because for me, being able to not walk or talk and now getting the opportunity to go to states," says Williams. "Oh my goodness. All this to the man upstairs."

"We coach the individuals," says Coach Ernest Easley. "We don't coach the disability. That whole passion that they have, you can't help but just play basketball."

The Lucas County Lightning will be heading to Hillard Davidson High School near Columbus on Friday, March 22. They'll be having a special send off before they go.

And the Special Olympics World Games kick off this weekend. Two of those players are also from Toledo.