HAWKS PLAYING FOR 3-PEAT
Louisville, KY. Day 1 of the 2014 NWBA National Championships had mixed results for the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks. The Hawks Varsity team started the day with their most important game of the tournament. The Hawks (#9) faced Seattle Sonics (#8). The Hawks opened up with a full court press and game was close for the first 20 minutes. The Hawks defense kept them in the game at a time when their offense was simply terrible (11 for 38 or 29%). The Hawks led 25-16 at the intermission behind 8 first half points from Samuel Armas (Villa Rica) and 6 from Josh Joines (Kennesaw). The Hawks could not buy a bucket. In the second period the Hawks improved their shooting percentage to 40% (8/20) but lost their defensive concentration. Seattle outscores the Hawks 27-16 in the second half to win 43-41. Josh Joines led the Hawks with 13 points while Samuel Armas finished with 12 points. Bryan Powell (Marietta) added 8 points while Treyvon Smith (Athens) scored 6 points and Brent O’Grady (Marietta) added 2 points.
Next up were the Hawks Prep team. As two-time defending National Champions with a 30 game winning streak dating back to the 2012 National Championship, the Hawks travel to Louisville with one goal, a 3-PEAT. The Hawks would start the tournament at a slight disadvantage after being snubbed by the NWBA Junior Committee who seeded the Hawks #2 despite being the undefeated defending National Champions. Go figure.
The Hawks (#2) first game was against the Milwaukee Heat (#7). The Hawks Prep squad started strong behind the defensive strength of Collin Lancaster (Bethlehem) and Cameron Elzey (Cumming). The Hawks led at the half 16-8. Eric Francis (Smyrna) had 8 first half points, followed by Collin Lancaster and Cameron Elzey both with 4 points. The Hawks turned up their defense in the second half only allowing the Heat 6 points. The Hawks rolled to an easily 40-14 win. Collin Lancaster led all scorers with 16 points. Eric Francis scored 12 points and Cameron Elzey added 6 points. Jonathan Joiner (Fayetteville) and Taevan Grant (Atlanta) scored 4 and 2 points respectively.
The Hawks are now two wins away from being in the championship game for the third year in a row. Next up the #3 seed Chicago Skyhawks, Friday morning at 8:00 am.
The Varsity team finished Day 1 with a tough game against the #16 seed Michigan Challengers. The Hawks shooting trouble continued into Game 2 with the Hawks only shooting 31% in the first half. Their defense again kept them close and the Hawks were down by 2 at the intermission. The Hawks improved slight in the second half and built a 10 point lead with 3 minutes to play. The Michigan squad played hard to the final buzzer and tied the game with 30 seconds to go. The Hawks failed to execute and the game went into overtime. The Challengers kept the momentum going in the overtime period for a 44-40 upset win over the Hawks. Josh Joines (Kennesaw) led the Hawks with 20 points while Samuel Armas (Villa Rica) added 12 and Treyvon Smith (Athens) rounded out the Hawks scoring with 8 points. The Hawks’ Varsity squad will move on with two games on Friday to determine their final seeding for the 2013-14 season.