For the second time in three weeks the Georgia Blazers travel to Birmingham, AL for a wheelchair basketball tournament. Teams from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas travelled to Lakeshore Foundation for the 2013 NWBA Southern Regional Tournament.
The Blazers’ Varsity Team started the weekend with an 8:00 am game against regional rivals, Lakeshore Sharks, their fourth meeting of the season. Similar to the first three match ups, the games was a defensive contest. The Blazers led at half time 16-6 behind the trio of Treyvon Smith (5 pts), Josh Joines (4pts) and Ben Baxter (4pts). The second half was more of the same. Josh Joines added 12 more points to lead the Blazers to a 38-18 win over the Lakeshore Sharks.
The win matched the Blazers with a back-to-back game against the tournament’s top seed, Rolling Timberwolves. Ranked # 2 nationally, the Timberwolves were too much for the young Blazer squad and won easily 64-16.
The Blazers’ Prep team started their tournament with a 34-13 win over the Jr. Thunder (NC). KJ Reese led all scorers with 16 points followed by Samuel Armas with 8 points, Cameron Elzey with 6 points and Chance Boyd with 4 points. Rookie sensations Zachary Armas and Cade Maynor along with second year player Taevon Grant led the Blazers’ defensive charge.
The Varsity squad’s third game on Saturday was against the Jr. Thunder (NC). The Blazers rebounded well off a tough loss to the Timberwolves and won 72-12. The Blazers spread the scoring around and had all 8 players score at least 4 points. Josh Joines shot 85% and scored 24 points to lead the Blazers effort. Bryan Powell followed with 12 point and Ben Baxter with 10.
The Blazers’ Varsity team finished the day with a game against the Turnstone Flyers (Fort Wayne, IN). The Blazers started strong and played a back and forth game for the first 15 minutes. The Flyers pulled away late in the first half to lead 25-18. The Flyers caught fire in the second half and the Blazers playing their fourth game of the day could not keep up. Flyers win 57-32. The Blazers were led by Josh Joines with 8points, Treyvon Smith with 6 and Ben Baxter, Curran Brown, Brent O’Grady and Luke Hutchinson all with 4 points.
The Blazers’ Prep team finished a long day of basketball with a 6:00 pm game against the Turnstone Flyers (IN). The Blazers had the slowest start of the season shooting only 12% (3 of 24) in the first half and found themselves trailing at the half 8-6. The Blazers finally got their shots to fall and won 26-16. KJ Reese led the way with 14 points, followed by Samuel Armas with 8 points and Chance Boyd with 4 points. The win earned the Blazers a spot in Sunday’s Championship game.
The Blazers’ Prep squad found themselves in a rematch with the tough Turnstone Flyers (IN), who won their semi-final game against Katie’s Comets (PA). The Blazers had a much better start than they did in Saturday’s game against the Flyers. The Blazers shot 32% and led at half-time 16-6 behind Samuel Armas’ 10 points, KJ Reese’s 4 points and their usual great defense. The second half was an opportunity to play the younger players and the Blazers rolled to a 30-13 win and their first NWBA Southern Regional Championship. Samuel Armas’ finished with 16 points while KJ Reese’s scored 8 points, Chance Boyd and Taevon Grant had 4 and 2 points respectively.
In post-tournament awards, Samuel Armas was selected to the Prep All-tournament team and Treyvon Smith was named to the Varsity All-tournament team. The Prep Team continues a perfect season and a record of 10-0 after their third tournament of the season. The Blazers’ Varsity team placed fourth in this weekend’s tournament and extends their record to 7-3.
The Blazers’ next tournament will be March 9 & 10 when BlazeSports host the NWBA Southeast Championships, in Marietta, GA. For more information about the Blazers’ wheelchair basketball program, visit our website at www.blazesports.org or contact Jeff Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.