HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS/CNN) — William Lipka is a basketball-loving 14-year-old who shares membership on the autistic spectrum with his twin, Eamon.
More importantly, Lipka is the manager of Highland Park’s Elm Place Middle School basketball team.
“He’s my right-hand man. Anything I need, I go to him,” said team coach Trevor Kahn.
Kahn and co-coach John Whitehead made good on a long-standing promise to put Lipka in a game.
“(He was) shocked. Shocked. The question was: ‘Are you sure I’m playing?’ for the next four hours of the school day,” Kahn said.
On a set play with a fortuitous rebound, Lipka came through for his team. The crowd screamed with glee.
“It was the culmination of everything in the last three years with William. He deserved it. He’s a great kid,” Kahn said.
Lipka said when he holds the ball, it feels “like we’re gonna win.”
The squad is still buzzing about the shot that happened, the highlight of Highland Park, and what it means for the development of the kid who just like any other kid, simply wants to be on the team.
“There were parents from the other team that were rooting for him, so it was every parent’s, I guess, dream to have your child succeed in a tough situation,” said his father, Paul Lipka.