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Bowie basketball player becomes legend

(Photo: Dion Butler)
(Photo: Dion Butler)
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Susan Trobaugh's four sons all played basketball at Bowie High School, and all four played for head coach Celester Collier.

"He is a father figure to us all," explained Callaghan O'Reilly. "He's the reason I coach right now."

Collier's coaching is well-known around Austin. He is in the middle of his 30th season coaching the Bulldogs, but last summer hatched a plan to help the youngest O'Reilly son see the floor.

Shea O'Reilly, like his brothers, loves the game of basketball. O'Reilly has Down syndrome, but hooked onto the team as a manager his freshman season. His role continued to evolve, but Collier wanted to do more. So over the summer he made the decision without telling anyone else - Shea would suit up on senior night.

Callaghan went to a game mid-season and Collier told him the plan. Neither could hide his emotions.

"We took a moment to cry and hug each other," said O'Reilly.

There was still one issue.

Shea might not play.

"There was no guarantee we'd get him in the game," explained Collier. "We'd make sure we let him in warmups and get him a spot to sit on the bench."

"But something greater happened."

On senior night Bowie led Lake Travis by 19 late in the third quarter. Collier saw the opportunity.

"Shea, it's your time baby," the head coach called out to O'Reilly.

It didn't take long for him to make his impact.

O'Reilly hit the first 3-pointer he took and made another in the 4th quarter. The gym was in a frenzy.

"It was a big, huge moment," said Shea, whose 3-pointers went viral on social media.

"I went out and did what I do and just made some shots."

O'Reilly's mom and brother agree he may not realize the enormity of the moment, but they never doubted him in any way either.

"Shea is truly God's gift on this earth," said the proud mom. "He lights up the room. He's amazing."

"If you're fortunate to be chosen as a mom of a child with disability, just know they can do anything."

Shea O'Reilly is living proof of that.

"I'd say I'm a legend," a smiling Shea joked.

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No doubt he will live in Bowie lore forever.

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