For 20 years, the Battle of Worthington has brought the community together to enjoy special and memorable moments.

The friendly exhibition basketball game between the Worthington Stars, comprising members of the Worthington Special Olympics team, and the Worthington Ambassadors, consisting of two students from each of Worthington's four middle schools, is a "time to celebrate who you are," said event coordinator Tammy Bailey.

The Stars, who won 106-44, come in many sizes and ages, ranging from age 9 to adult. Thirty-two Stars faced the eight Ambassadors.

This year's game also featured the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band playing music for a packed crowd at Thomas Worthington High School.

The Stars all have catchy nicknames, like Will "the Thrill" Holmes and Gavin "the Gavinator" Bockenstette, that were announced to the crowd prior to the game.

Former Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Dimitrious Stanley, who is a graduate of Thomas Worthington, announced the games and the nicknames, with his commentary adding to the play-by-play excitement.

The energy carried over into the game, with one Stars player, Maria "Pickle" Rudy, doing a cartwheel across the gym after she scored a basket.

Sharon Fish, founder of the Worthington Special Olympics basketball team and the battle, said she wanted to start the event because 20 years ago Worthington had no team sports for Special Olympics.

She said she thought there could be "a lot of skills to be learned" through basketball.

Fish said the game is beneficial to the middle school students, and they are not given any type of instruction prior to playing in the game.

She said over the years, the community has showed support for the game, including through a raffle for various prizes and gift cards.

"Without the community, it wouldn't run," she said.

ominnier@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekOlivia