SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments march on, one South Dakota organization is preparing for a big basketball tournament of its own.

Special Olympics South Dakota is making itself at home at the Sanford Pentagon in advance of its state basketball tournament.

“There are more than 60 teams that will be competing and we have about ten cheer teams also competing as well,” Special Olympics South Dakota Marketing Manager Jill Kvanli said.

Basketball is one of 26 sports offered through Special Olympics South Dakota, and this weekend’s state tournament will showcase more than 900 local athletes.

“It’s so much more than sports. You’re providing joy, friendship, and even competition for the athletes and they enjoy being able to compete in the sports they love,” Kvanli said.

“He likes playing with his friends, making basketball hoops, and hanging out with Nordy. Honest, I’m not paying him,” Special Olympics basketball coach Jessica ‘Nordy’ Nordhus said.

Jessica Nordhus is a Special Olympics coach. She’s been coaching 18-year-old Tate Mcgraw since he starting playing basketball ten years ago, and says it’s a rewarding experience.

“When they get that rebound and they turn around and look at you and smile, it almost brings tears to your eyes because the success that they’re experiencing and the joy that they’re experiencing just is so rewarding to me,” Nordhus said.

The tournament extends beyond the court for the players. There’s also a banquet and dance.

“We’ll get some food… and maybe dance with the girls?” Norhus said. “And dance with the girls,” 18-year-old Tate Mcgraw said.

“Some of our athletes their friends are west river so they don’t get to compete or talk to them very much so it’s great to have everyone together again this weekend,” Kvanli said.

The state tournament is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday from 8 until 4 at the Sanford Pentagon. Volunteers and spectators are always welcome.