Basketball with four legs

FALLS CITY — It was a game of fast breaks and frantic scrambles for the ball.    But half the players on the court — noble steeds as they are — needed a little extra encouragement to, well, move.   Those players had names like Twitter, Daisy, Tater Tot and Mocha. Like a select few basketball players — such as LeBron and another from an NBA team to the south with a name starting with a “K” that no self-respecting basketball fan of the Portland Trail Blazers would utter — no last names were needed.    Instead of draining off-balance 3-pointers or making spectacular drives to the basketball, these players are better known for standing tall in the lane. Or on the perimeter. Or even out of bounds while their teammates urged — or pulled — them in another direction.   This spectacle in Falls City High School’s gym Friday night was donkey basketball. Photo by Jolene Guzman Falls City junior Tristan Yeager, left, eyes the ball with a steal on his mind during a “fast break” during the second of two donkey basketball games at Friday’s fundraiser.   “It’s definitely not like riding a horse at all,” Falls City High School senior Destiny Wyatt said.   More comedy than sport, it’s not like basketball either, said Wyatt, who played on the high school’s team this past season.    “It’s really frustrating when you are trying to pull them and they just stand there,” Wyatt said, describing almost all instances when there was a 50-50 ball scenario.    Donkey Sports provided the donkeys and the “refs,” for the game. They wore black and white stripes, but really the refs were donkey handlers and “motivators,” making sure the donkeys were trotting in the right direction — or, in some cases, simply getting a stubborn donkey to trot at all.    The Entiat, Wash., company has been training donkeys for similar events for 30 years. Donkey Sports has two “teams” of donkeys that it takes to games of basketball and baseball in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.    “This was a good game tonight,” said David Fanton of Donkey Sports. “They had some good teams that had some good shooters.”   In the end, all the high jinks Friday were for a good cause — fundraising for Falls City’s senior class. With a crowd approaching 200, the night was a success.    “We had a better turnout than we thought we would have,” Wyatt said. “It was good. We made a lot of money for our class.”   


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