The Georgia Blazers opened the 2012 National Wheelchair Basketball Championships with a first round game against 5th ranked Courage Center Rowdies (MN). The Blazers started off strong defensively against an experienced Courage Center team and led 8-6 at the end of the first period. The Blazers exploded offensively in the second quarter behind the shooting of Josh Joines and Samuel Armas who had 14 and 8 first-half points respectively. Blazers extended their lead to 22-8 at half-time.
The Rowdies regrouped and made a run on the Blazers in the third period. The Blazers were able to keep their lead with a 30-15 margin at the end of three. The fourth quarter was more of the same, with the Blazers spreading out the scoring with all six Blazers adding to the offensive effort. Josh Joines finished with a game high 22. Samuel Armas had 8, while Chance Boyd scored 4. Collin LaFon, Cameron Elzey and Collin Lancaster each had 2 points to round out the Blazers’ 40-19 win.
The Blazers’ opening game win matched them against the number one ranked Grand Rapid Jr. Pacers (MI) in round 2. The Pacers overmatched the Blazers at the Music City tournament in February. The Blazers have played good basketball since then and were hoping for a better showing during this rematch against the Pacers. The Blazers got off to a good start, playing the Jr. Pacers even after the first period. The Pacers turned up their offense and combined with some sloppy play by the Blazers and not so good shooting (7 for 20) and an 8-8 tie quickly turned into a 25-14 Pacer lead at half-time.
The Blazers used the half-time intermission to rethink their defensive and came out in the second half on a mission to show the Pacers that they could indeed play with them. The Blazers’ strategy worked and they slowly got back in the game. The Blazers outscored the Pacers 12-10 in the third period to close the score to 35-26. The Blazer’s defense continued to the final buzzer and the Blazers outscored the Pacers 22-18 in the second half. Despite the great comeback the Pacers won 43-36. The Blazers consider it a small victory within a tough loss considering the loss by 17 during their first match-up.
The Blazers head into a potentially long Day 2. They will start with an 8:00 a.m. against the Oklahoma Blaze. If the Blazers win that game, they will face a rematch against The RHI Mini Pacers (IN) at 1:00 pm.