One Ayersville Pilot basketball player makes memorable shot

One Ayersville Pilot basketball player makes memorable shot

DEFIANCE, OH (WTOL) - Michael Maag has found a home on the basketball court. But at just 22 months old, his parents were not sure they would ever get to see him dribble a ball or make a basket. As a baby, Michael was abused by his babysitter.

His life would change forever.

"He suffered a traumatic brain injury," Michael's mom Angie Kirkham said. "That resulted in his brain stroking out and mental and physical disabilities since then."

"It makes for long days," Michael's dad Alan Maag said. "It's difficult to watch your child suffer and go through the things he's had to go through."

The effects still linger today. Michael is only able to use his left arm while playing basketball. But nothing can keep him off the court.

That is where this story takes a happy turn.

It was a normal, cold, snow-filled night in Defiance when Michael dressed for his first ever Varsity basketball game for Ayersville. But he did not just dress for the game. Michael became the talk of town.

"I could kind of tell that it was going to happen," Alan explained. "When he got out there, it was just really neat how the kids responded to him being out there and how the crowd stood up, and it was just a really special night."

"They showed me how to do it first," Michael said. "I knew we were gonna win."

In the short time he was in the game, Michael made a huge impact on this community. After the game, coach presented him with the game ball.

"Coach James gave me the ball," Michael said. When asked if he has put the ball down since, he said he has taken it "everywhere I go, I even slept with it!"

"If he didn't have the condition that he has, Michael would have been a senior," Ethan Schlachter, a Senior on the Ayersville Varsity team said. "He would have been playing with us every single night on this basketball court. So, for us to give him at least one night, what we experience every night, it was really special that we were able to do that."

"I would argue that, in my mind, Michael did more for us as a basketball program and a community, than we could ever do for him," Head Coach James Zachrich said.

As if this story could not get any more incredible, this is the final season that Ayersville will be playing in their historic gym. That means that Michael made the final basket ever in the gym they call "The Hangar."

"It feels awesome," Michael explained. "I made the last basket of this gym."

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