PARKERSBURG A perfect season on the line, a championship game and a 6th grade basketball player unlike any other. Javien Tibbs is a starting forward for Blennerhassett Middle School, but he's also hearing impaired.
His coach, Holmes Marty, says “He can communicate I mean he is one of our five starters and he does the little things on the court that you can't measure in statistics. You know he's a great ball handler, he gets down the court, he gets a ton of assists, steals, he's just everywhere, does a wonderful job. The whole team just runs so well together and he's a huge part of that.”
The Blennerhassett 6th grade boys basketball team played in the Wood County Middle School Championship game Wednesday against their rival Edison. The Bobcats had an undefeated 15-0 regular season, with one game left to win.
“Win or lose it's an amazing group and I’m so blessed to be able to work with all of them.” Says Marty.
Javien succeeds on the team with help from his interpreter turned coach. Debbie Parsons signs to Javien what his coaches and teammates are saying on the court. “She's actually taught the team how to sign some things so we can communicate better with J on the court.”
Parsons has been with Javien since he was three, and started to help coach him in basketball since third grade.
“We actually had a student the second day of school pass away. Her name was Harley Becker, she unfortunately passed away in a drowning. She was one of my former students at Blennerhassett and we named two plays after her, Harley and Becker, for her first and last name so Debbie taught the whole group how to sign h for Harley and b for Becker so we can run those plays and J knows what's going on so he doesn't have to look at the bench all the time.”
Javien says he loves to play with the rest of the bobcat boys, especially his brother Tay, who is also part of the team.
In the loud atmosphere of a championship game, things don't sound the same to Javien. But it doesn’t make it any less exciting.
“He always has the biggest smile it's so infectious, he's just an amazing kid to be around.”
The Bobcats took a big lead in the first half of the game and then it was down to the wire in the final minutes. But in the end, Javien and his teammates were champions.
The Blennerhassett Bobcats were also regular season champions, going 16-0. Javien was named to the 2018 middle school all county team, along with two of his Blennerhassett teammates.