Saturday, February 26, 2011

Missouri teen with Down syndrome proves he can drive the ball to the basket on varsity HS team


STEELE, Mo. -- Tyler Farmer from South Pemiscot High School in Steele might be different from the rest of his teammates, but he's not treated any differently.

In fact, he is becoming quite the super star everywhere he goes.

"We love having him," said South Pemiscot Head Coach James Carlisle.

It's the second year on the team for 17-year-old Tyler Farmer.

"He loves to play basketball," said Terry Haynes-Tyler's Dad.

It's been a good season for the JV, but the varsity has struggled. Instead of broken spirits, it is quite the opposite. It's all thanks to number 33.

"When Tyler's on the floor the other guys on the team play even harder," said Coach Carlisle.

"I can't explain it, it's awesome," said Terry Haynes.

Tyler's coach gives him a lot of playing time.

On a Friday, Feb. 18 against Saxony Lutheran High School, Tyler played in every quarter of the JV, even with the game on the line.

"We're going to let him play as long as he is here," said Coach Carlisle.

Word spread about Tyler after an early February match up against the Bulldogs, and the Caruthersville Tigers.

"I think that was a night where everyone found different meaning," said Caruthersville Head Coach David Heeb.

In the second half, Caruthersville had a big lead.

"It was like 100 and something to 30 something," said Lisa Haynes, Tyler's mom.

In came number 33 (pictured).

"I told the boys before the game to let him shoot," said Coach Heeb.

That's exactly what he did. Tyler scored 24 points.

"I'm getting goose bumps standing up all over me," said Terry Haynes.

Opposing player Darrell Monroe was one of many Caruthersville players helping, and coaching Tyler during the game.

"We just laid off, and let him score," said Darrell Monroe.

"When he shot the ball he made it," said Coach Heeb.

"It was something I'll never forget," said Monroe.

Tyler Farmer quickly became a local celebrity.

"The crowd just goes wild," said Lisa Haynes, Tyler's mom.

During the game against Saxony Lutheran, Tyler hit the court and missed his mark.

Before long though, he hit a two-pointer.

"He's a three point shooter too," said Terry Haynes.

His dad was right. He nailed his first three.

"You leave him open and he'll bust right through," said Terry Haynes.

He hit another, and another.

"The crowd goes crazy and it changes the outlook on the game," said Head Coach Carlisle.

Tyler's teammates love it.

"The fact that he can go out there, and put on a show makes it more fun," said Seth Harris.

Before the final buzzer Tyler sank his fifth three-pointer of the night.

It was a loss on the scoreboard, but a win in the memory book.

"I'm very proud," said Coach Carlisle. "We love having Tyler shoot the ball."

It was a dream come true for mom and dad.

"That's my boy, 100 percent," said Terry Haynes.

Coach Carlisle says #33 definitely has a spot on the team next year.