Among the many moments that make each high school unified basketball game special came early in a fun-filled court contest between host Oceanside and visiting Morse of Bath on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 1.

After an Oceanside player had missed a handful of close-range shots, a Shipbuilder player grabbed the final errant shot. But instead of tossing the ball to a teammate to dribble the ball down the other end of the court, the Morse player passed the ball back to the Mariner who had, moments earlier, experienced futility in his previous shot attempts. This time, however, with an assist from his opponent, the Mariner scored.

That was an example of what makes unified basketball special. Because it is about the game, each player, coach and spirit squad member. It is about fun, laughter and working together toward a common goal — namely, helping someone with special needs achieve something they might not have thought possible.

Oh, of course, the final score ultimately always decides which team "wins," but that really does not matter to those involved. At least it did not seem to for the Mariners and Shipbuilders on this afternoon.

In the end, the visitors pulled out an exciting two-point victory — 66-64 in overtime.

Click for photos from this game.

Watch video below.

Team members for Oceanside include Kaytlyn Pierce, Ryan Morse, Erica Dyer, Angel Seiders, Ryan Crockett, Ryan Warren, Krista Butler, Titus Kaewthong, Michael Dougherty, Matt Waldron, Casey Pine, Nick Colson, Isaiah Jones and Ashley Sherman. The coaches are Joanna Hall and Colleen Rickard, with assistant coach Connor Harvey. Jill Hanley is the scorekeeper.

Spirit team member for Oceanside include Justin Hunt, Julia Bartlett, Lindsey Brooks, Julia Clough, Jackie Daggett, Erin Dugan, Kristina Ferguson, Jacqueline Hall, Taylor Hamlin, Mattie Hooper, Nicole Ladd, Valerie Lorleberg, Katherine McCue, Lexie McMahon, Skylar Prior, Gabby Straka and Emily Tyler.

Oceanside has started the season 1-1, which includes a 49-44 win over host Mount View of Thorndike on Thursday, Jan. 25.

Now in its fourth season, unified basketball — which combines Special Olympics athletes and general student-athletes (partners) in 5-on-5 competition — has taken the state by storm. In 2015, the state had 18 teams and that number has swelled to 52 this season.

In Thursday’s action, the game was tied 18-18 at halftime, before Oceanside led 34-30 at halftime and 50-44 after three quarters.

Colson keyed the Mariners with 30 points, including 22 in the first half, followed by Pierce with 12; Warren, 10; Dyer and Seiders, four; and Dougherty and Kaewthong, two. In other times of the year, Kaewthong, Dougherty and Pine, who enjoy their time playing unified, are three of the most talented and successful all-around traditional student-athletes at the school.

For the Shipbuidlers, Keegan Companion and Ben Hinds tallied 14 points; Kore Girffin and Zoe Walker, eight; Alexis Hargett, Isaac Smith and Courtney Boucher, six; and Elias Ware and Trevor Santiago, two.

Oceanside’s first season of unified was in 2015.

Upcoming Oceanside games include: at Bucksport, Feb. 6, 3:15 p.m; at Cony of Augusta, Feb. 8, 3:30 p.m.; host Winslow, Feb. 27, 4 p.m.; and host Bucksport, March 1, 3:30 p.m.