He’s No. 1

Sherman Manager’s Positive Outlook Rewarded

Members of the Sherman Central School varsity basketball team show their love for team manager Tucker Pierce (10) following the Wildcats’ game Wednesday night against Cassadaga Valley. 
Submitted photos

Members of the Sherman Central School varsity basketball team show their love for team manager Tucker Pierce (10) following the Wildcats’ game Wednesday night against Cassadaga Valley. Submitted photos

On Wednesday night, the Sherman Wildcats recorded a 63-39 win over Cassadaga Valley to improve their record on the season to 16-4.

Chris Robson poured in a game-high 32 points to move into third place on the school’s career scoring list while Tanner Ramsey chipped in 11 points and Jared Gleason added 9.

But the most memorable performance of the evening on Senior Night came from Sherman’s team manager, Tucker Pierce, a special-needs student who had the chance to fulfill a dream and compete in his first varsity game with the Wildcats.

Not only did Pierce get to compete, but he scored 4 points to help lead Sherman to victory.

Since he began his stint as manager, Pierce has grown into an essential part of the Wildcats’ program.

Tucker and his mother, Tammy Trask, share an embrace.
Submitted photos

Tucker and his mother, Tammy Trask, share an embrace. Submitted photos

“He started hanging around the gym because he really liked basketball,” Sherman coach Cory Emory said. “And then the guys kind of took to him and (the time) wasn’t right at the beginning of the season, but maybe a couple days in, they were like, ‘Hey, would you mind if Tucker was a manager?’ … They just love having him around because he’s a pretty joyful kid to be around. As the season went on, obviously, he started traveling with us and he would dress up for away games. The guys would dress in their ties and he would dress in his tie just like they do. They kept getting closer and closer and I think they were starting to learn from Tucker (that), hey, it doesn’t matter what situations are happening in your life, you can have a positive outlook on each and every day.

“And then as we got closer to the Senior Night, they asked me, ‘Hey, do you think that we could get Tucker into a game since he comes to every practice and all of that stuff,'” Emory continued. “I said let me check with our (athletic director Mel Swanson) and make sure it’s OK with (Section VI). … He checked with the section and then we got him a uniform. … We gave him the uniform to wear and he wore it to the girls game the other night for (Mel) Swanson’s last regular-season game. He wore it that whole time he came. And then the next day he was still wearing the uniform. I even think he had it on today. He doesn’t want to take it off.”

What meant a lot to Emory, his staff and his players was that they had the opportunity to show Pierce what he’s meant to Sherman basketball.

“The guys just love seeing him happy,” Emory stressed. “And it makes them happy and it’s kind of a nice big circle, a win-win for everybody. … Probably the most touching moment for me personally was when (Pierce) walked out on Senior Night to give a flower to his mother. And he got a huge ovation form the crowd. … When he walked out there, there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

And, fittingly, it was a bucket from Pierce at the buzzer in the fourth quarter that brought an end to the action against the Cougars. Following the last-second shot, Pierce was mobbed by his teammates, which was a true testament to the bond that has formed between the Wildcats and their dedicated manager.

“(The guys) just wanted to be able to run off the bench and give Tucker a big hug and just … let him experience his night,” said Emory, who also commended the class of Cassadaga Valley and the game’s officials. “It always seems like everything is about winning, which obviously that’s important to me, it’s important to our community and I’m one of the first ones to say that’s (one of the reasons) why you play a sport is to compete, is to win. But, at the same time, I think the boys have learned a little bit this year that, yeah, we’re going to compete hard, yeah we want to win … but just being able to play, there’s a little more to it than just winning a game. … It was a great experience.”

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