Day 1 at the Midwest Regional Tournament had the BlazeSports’ Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks playing 4 of their 6 games. The Junior Hawks started the day with an 11:30 am matched up against Jr. Sioux Falls Wheelers (ND). Although the two teams have never played, the Wheelers were in the middle of the competition at the 2013 National Championship. The Jr. Hawks (#19) lost to their arch rivals, Lakeshore Lakers (#17), in the semi-finals of the NIT tournament which resulted in Lakeshore playing the Wheelers (#18) in the championship game. Lakeshore wins by one point.
The Jr. Hawks started strong applying a full-court press from the opening tip. The Hawks forced 16 first half turnovers and outscored the Wheelers 40 to 10, led by Josh Joines and Treyvon Smith who had 20 and 10 first half points respectively. The second half was more of the same and the Hawks rolled to a 60-31 win, Josh Joines finished with 30, Treyvon Smith had 14 and Samuel Armas scored 8. Chance Boyd, Brent O’Grady, Brian Powell and Luke Hutchinson all added 2 points.
The Jr. Hawks second game was immediately following the win over the Sioux Falls Wheelers and was against unranked Tulsa Jammers. Tulsa did not attend the 2013 National Tournament and like the Wheelers, this would be the first time playing the Jr. Hawks. The Hawks stayed with what had worked in Game 1 and used the full-court press to stay close to the Jammers and led 25-24 at the half behind 12 points from Josh Joines and 7 points from Samuel Armas. The Hawks pulled ahead early in the second half an kept an 8-10 point lead to finish with a 56-46 win over the Tulsa squad. Treyvon Smith led the Hawks with 18, while both Josh Joines and Samuel Armas scored 16. Bryan Powell added 4 points and Brent O’Grady added 2 points.
Game 3 on Day 1` was the first really test for the Jr. Hawks seven man squad. Timberwolves (#4) are one of the predominant wheelchair basketball programs in the country. Their offensive strength combined with their overall experienced was too much for the younger Hawks. Timberwolves win 63-30.
Day 1 ended with a 7:00 pm game against #6 ranked Dallas Jr Mavericks. The Hawks worked hard in their second back-to-back game against a top 10 team, but lost 66-31 to a stronger and somewhat unsportsmanlike team. The Mavs spent most of the second half leading by 20, but decided not to play their younger bench players. Instead they kept their stronger starters in for the entire game in some unnecessary attempt run up the score.
The Jr. Hawks finished Day 1 with a 2-2 recoded and have two more games on Day 2, back to back games against Nebraska and Utah. Follow the Hawks progress here, on Twitter of Facebook as they fight their way through the Dawg Pound.