Tripoli teen with Downs Syndrome hits nothing but net - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tripoli teen with Downs Syndrome hits nothing but net

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TRIPOLI (KWWL) -

Tripoli's Mike Biermann is a typical high school senior. He has his own car, is getting set to go to Hawkeye Community College, and is finishing up his final season on Joe Urbanek's Panther basketball squad.

“I've done basketball my whole life, starting with my 5th grade year,” said Mike, a 19 year old who had been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome at an early age.

“He's a hard worker, never late,” said Urbanek, “He's there every day.”

Mike has shared much of his journey with cousin and teammate senior Dalton Tonne. Tonne says Mike receives no special treatment and is just one of the guys.

“We hold Mike accountable for everything he does and he earns everything he does,” said Tonne who's been playing with Mike since seventh grade, “He does a great job.”

Despite that Mike had never scored in a varsity game until one amazing moment mid-December against Waterloo Christian. With the Panthers well ahead, Mike entered the game and quickly drilled a trey from the wing sending the crowd in to a frenzy.

“As soon as he left, I could see it was going in,” said Panther senior Cameron Mueller, “I looked at his eyes and his eyes were as big as they could get, and when it went in it didn't hit anything but net.”

“We see Michael shoot hundreds of shots a day,” added Urbanek, “so we knew he could make a shot.”

But Mike didn't stop at one, the very next trip down the court, he did it again.

“We get down there,” said Tonne, “I pass it to him in the corner and he hits the second one and I was amazed. I was really proud of him.”

“I felt good, I really felt good after the game,” said Mike, “Mr. Urbanek walked over and patted me on the back.”

“He's got great teammates that sometimes they might want it more than Mike does,” said Urbanek” “To see that come to fruition was something special.”

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