Thursday, May 24, 2018 | 2 a.m.
As told by Cowboys coach Steve Bentz: Nick Doland was the most valuable member of our program, because he epitomized what sports are supposed to mean for high school students.
As a member of our team for the last four years, Nick grounded us with his pure joy for basketball. His love for the game was infectious to both his teammates and coaches.
He usually arrived early for practice and stayed late, getting as many shots and playing as many games of one-on-one as possible. Nick, who is a special-needs student, received limited playing time in games but was a constant source of encouragement for his teammates.
Nick’s dedication paid off this year, and his value to Chaparral was on display when he scored his first point, hit his first three-pointer and chipped in five points on senior night.
The biggest jubilation came on his 18th birthday, when he made a 3-pointer at the buzzer and his teammates rushed the court. One of our injured players behind the bench even ditched his crutches to join in on the celebration.
Other local players with special needs have scored in recent years with the coordination of the teams and officials, but there was none of that with Nick. He broke through after years of hard work, and reminded us all what is great about sports.
This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.