BlazeSports Hawks Travel to Whitewater as #9 in the country
BlazeSports’ Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Varsity Team travel to frigid Whitewater Wisconsin to compete in the Midwest Junior Regional Tournament. A tournament that included 6 of the top 10 Varsity teams in the country. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association posted the first 2015 rankings. The top ten teams include the following teams. The teams in red are in Whitewater this weekend battling to improve their mid-season rankings.
1 Houston TIRR Hotwheels
2 Courage Center Jr. Timberwolves
3 Milwaukee Heat
4 Seattle Jr. Sonics
5 Dallas Jr. Mavericks – White
6 Grand Rapid Jr. Pacers
7 Utah Rush
8 Turnstone Flyers
9 Atlanta Jr. Wheelchair Hawks
10 Nebraska Red Dawgs
The Hawks #9 ranking is their best mid-season ranking in Hawks (Blazer) history. The Hawks play Utah (#7), Milwaukee (#3) and Turnstone (IN) (#8) on Saturday. Sunday’s games will depend on Saturday results.
Day 1: Midwest Junior Regional Tournament
With early morning temperatures in the single digits, BlazeSports’ Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Varsity Team arrived on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Whitewater for a 12:00 match up against 7th ranked Utah Rush.
The Hawks started off strong on the offensive side while playing some of the best defense of the year. They led 33-16 at the half behind 20 points from Josh Joines and 6 points from Samuel Armas and 4 points from Treyvon Smith. The Hawks defense held Utah to 34% shooting. The momentum continued through the second half. Head Coach Jason Joines commented “ it was the best basketball we have ever played.” Josh Joines finished with 28 points followed by Sam Armas, KJ Reese and Brent O’Grady with 8 points, Treyvon Smith with 6 points and Jordan Kolowski with 2 points. Hawks win 62-33.
Playing 4-5 games in a two day weekend tournament has it challenges. The Hawks came off a great first game and had to face #3 Milwaukee Heat in a back-to-back game. Momentum is a great thing and the Hawks used it and had a great start in game 2. The Hawks defense held to Heat to 36% shooting while the Hawks shot 46% to build a 25-16 first half lead.
The Heat changed their defense in the second half and the Hawks had trouble getting their shots. Foul trouble in the second half also took away the Hawk’s first half momentum. Starting point guard, Brent O’Grady fouled out while the Hawks second starting guard, Treyvon Smith saw limited second half action due to 4 fouls. The Hawks stayed close to end, but lose 44-38. Josh Joines and Treyvon Smith each scored 10 points. Jordon Kolowski added 8 points while Samuel Armas score 3, and Brent O’Grady and KJ Reese both scored 2 points. Although it was a close and disappointing loss, on the positive side the Hawks held the #3 team in the country to only 16 first half points and a total of 44 points.
The Hawks finished a long day with a 6:00 pm game against the #8 ranked team Turnstone Flyers (IN). The afternoon break gave the Hawks time to regroup and prepare for Game 3. The break was the perfect cure for the Hawks shooting slump in the second half of Game 2. The Hawks scored a season high 42 first half points with 8 of the 9 players on the scoreboard. Treyvon Smith’s 14 points, Josh Joines 8 points and Brent O’Grady’s 8 points led the offensive charge. The Hawks defense was back in fine form holding Turnstone to only 15 points. Hawks lead 42-15 at the half.
The second half allowed the Hawks to rest their starters and give some playing time to the bench. Josh Joines led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Treyvon Smith with 17 and Brent O’Grady with 14. Samuel Armas scored 8. Jordon Kolowski added 4 points while Cameron Elzey and Luke Hutchinson each added 2 points. KJ Reese rounded out the scoring with 1 point. Hawks win 71-43.
The tournament format has the Hawks playing two games on Sunday. The Hawk’s first game will be a rematch against the Turnstone and the final game against #10 Nebraska.