March Madness starts in Marietta
March has long been known for being one of the most exciting months of the year for basketball. Well, March Madness got an early start in Marietta, GA, today with the first day of the Southeast Regional Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships. The host team, the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks had a perfect day, 6-0, 3 Varsity wins and 3 Prep wins, as both teams attempt to repeat as SEC Champions.
The Hawks Prep team started things off with the early 8:30 game and a win over the league’s new-comers, the Mississippi Wheelcats (MS). Eric Francis led all scorers with 16 points, Cameron Elzey scored 6 and Collin Lancaster and Taevan Grant each added 4 points. Hawks win 30-11.
In the Prep squad’s second game the Hawk faced the Charlotte Bobcats. The Hawks used this game to give all eight players lots of game time. Six of the 8 Hawks contributed on the offensive side of the score sheet. Rookie Jonathan Joiner led all scorers with 7 points, while Taevan Grant added 5 and Cameron Elzey and Collin Lancaster score 4 points each. Cade Maynor and Eric Francis rounded out the Hawks scoring with 2 points each. Hawks win 24-8.
The Hawks Prep squad finished Day 1 with a regional re-match with Alabama rivals, the Lakeshore Sharks. The Hawks defense was the story of Game 3, limiting the Sharks to only 2 first-half buckets and a total of 9 points for the game. Offensively, the Hawks had their best game of the day. Eric Francis got back on track and scored a Day 1 high of 20 points. Collin Lancaster added 10 and Taevan Grant scored 6 points. John Joiner and Cameron Elzey each added 2 points. Hawks win 40-9. With the 3 wins today the Hawks clinch a spot in Sunday’s Championship Game. They will face Mississippi in the first game of Day 2 and again later in the day for the Championship.
The Hawks Varsity squad also started Day 1 against a newcomer to the league, the Huntingdon Red Wings (AL). The Hawks started slow on the offensive side of the ball, but made up for it by playing great defense. Hawks led at the half 23- 13. Hawks worked all 12 players into the lineup and were successful in getting 9 of the 12 players on the scoreboard. Kalen Reese and Treyvon Smith led the Hawks with 8 points each, while Sam Armas and Josh Joines both score 6 points. Brent O’Grady hit for 2 baskets, while Collin Lafon, Chance Boyd, Bryan Powell and Luke Hutchinson all scored 2 points. Hawks win 40-19.
The Varsity’s second game was against local rivals the Lakeshore Lakers (AL). The Hawks got off to a much better start in Game 2 and were up 25-10 at the intermission behind 13 points from Josh Joines and 6 points fro Treyvon Smith. The Hawks continued to share the playing time with all 12 players and rolled to a final score of 55-28. Seven of the 12 Hawks made the offensive stat sheet. Josh Joines led all scorers with 23, while Treyvon Smith added 10 and Samuel Armas scored 8. Senior Bryan Powell got on a roll and scored 6 and Chance Boyd contributed 4 points. Brent O’Grady and Kalen Reese rounded out the Hawks score sheet with 2 points each.
The Hawks’ third and final game of the day was against the Music City Thunder (TN). The Hawks kept both the offensive and defensive rolling from game 2 and led at the half 28-13, behind a strong first-half by Josh Joines who scored a game high 16 and only paid the first half. Once again 7 of the 12 Hawks who played scored. Samuel Armas backed up Josh Joines and scored 10 points, while Bryan Powell continued his hot streak with 8 points. First year Varsity player and one of 2 8th graders on the Varsity squad, Kalen Reese score 6 points, while Luke Hutchinson, Brent O’Grady and Treyvon Smith each added 2 points.
Like the Prep squad the Hawks’ Varsity squad earned a spot in the championship game on Sunday. Both Hawks’ teams will play for back-to-back SEC Championships.