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Victor 9th Grader Overcomes Rare Disease to Make Big Shot

Team manager hits final shot in final minute of final game
Victor 9th grader Zach Houliares loves basketball. This year, he became team manager of Victor's freshman squad.

"He's awesome," "Greatest kid ever," "He's just Zach," are just some of the things his teammates say of him.

Zach was born visually impaired. He recently was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth, a genetic disease in adolescents where the foot muscles degenerate. Simply walking is difficult and painful.

"It's hard walking and I want to walk farther but I can't because its slowing me down a little bit," says Zach.

Throughout the year, Zach talked about how great it would be to get in a game. Last Friday, without warning, head coach Jameson Ricigliano put Zach in for Victor's final minutes of their final game and gave him a chance at scoring the Blue Devils' final points.

"He's always worked hard and his relationships with the boys grew throughout the course of the season which made it all worth it for me," says Coach Ricigliano.

"I'm the one that passed it to him, so I dribbled down and told him to go to the block. As soon as he let it go, I knew it was going in," says Victor 9th grader Brandon Fink.

"It felt like heaven when I made that shot and I was getting a little nervous when it went in," recalls Zach.

Since Zach's big shot, the reaction on social media has been overwhelming.

"Kids from Fairport, Pittsford, all over the area have been tweeting trying to get Zach on Sportscenter and tagging LeBron James," says teammate Joey Pogoda.

And for the coach that has Zach on his hip during practice, the support is what makes it all worth it.

"This was all orchestrated by the boys im just the one that put it into motion, but these boys were the ones. and that just goes to show you how close they were and it means a lot to them."
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