Day 2 in the Dawg Pound

The Jr. Hawks travel to the city made famous by Payton Manning, Omaha!

The Jr. Hawks travel to the city made famous by Payton Manning, Omaha!

The Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks came off a 4 game Saturday to an 8:30am game on Sunday against the host team Nebraska Red Dawgs (#2).  This game was the third consecutive game against a top ten team.  The Hawks played well against a quicker and taller team and played 2 identical halves, scoring 20 points and allowing 32 points in both periods.  Josh Joines led the Hawks with 14 points, Samuel Armas scored 12 and Brent O’Grady added 8.  Treyvon Smith rounded out the Hawks’ scoring with 6 points.  Red Dawgs win 64-40.

It did not get any easier for the Hawks who had to finish the tournament against a dominant Salt Lake Rec N’ Crew (#9 at the 2013 Nationals) and undoubtedly, a top 4 national team this year.  The Hawks played well in spurts but could hardly buy a basket in the first half going 5 for 13.  The Rec N’s Crew led 43-10 at the half.  The Hawks regrouped and played a much better second half shooting 13 for 23 and out-played the Crew’s bench players 26-20.  Josh Joines led the Hawks with 14 and Samuel Armas added 12. Treyvon Smith scored 6 points and Brent O’Grady and Bryan Powell each added 2 points.

Treyvon Smith’s speed was too much for the #18 ranked Sioux Falls Wheelers

Treyvon Smith’s speed was too much for the #18 ranked Sioux Falls Wheelers

 

The Hawk’s appreciated the sportsmanship that both the Red Dawgs and Rec N’ Crew showed by pulling their starters and playing their bench players. 

In any other tournament a 2-4 record would not be something to be proud of, but for the Jr. Hawks this was not just

any other tournament. Of all the tournaments we could have attended, we chose the Midwest Regional because it had 4 of the top 9 teams from last year’s National Championships.  We need to know where we are as a basketball program and what we need to do to play at the next level.  We accomplished that goal this weekend.  Our seven players competed hard against four of the best wheelchair basketball teams in the country and we will be a better team for it.  Congratulations to Joshua Joines and Treyvon Smith for being selected to All-Tournament Team.  Josh led the Hawks in scoring with a total of 92 points in six games. Treyvon played well on both ends of the court, scoring 66 points in six games and averaging six steals a game.

Joshua Joines rolls in for a layup and 2 of his game high 26 points against Sioux Falls

Joshua Joines rolls in for a layup and 2 of his game high 26 points against Sioux Falls

 

Thanks to Assistant Coaches, Paul Hutchinson and Jason Joines, for a job well done on and off the court.  A special thanks to our trio of Moms, Julie Armas, Sharon O’Grady and Cherie Boyd, for braving the cold and snow of Nebraska to be our travel fans and filming crew.  Hats off to the Timberwolves, Red Dawgs and the Rec N’ Crew for being sportsmen, it was fun to play against talented and classy teams.  Finally, thanks to a first rate Nebraska Red Dawg organization that invited us into the Dawg Pound to play with the “big dawgs” and were great hosts of a well-run tournament.

Congrats to Joshua Joines and Treyvon Smith for being selected to the All-Tournament Team.

Congrats to Joshua Joines and Treyvon Smith for being selected to the All-Tournament Team.

The Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks travel next weekend, February 14-16 to the Southeast Regional Tournament being held at Middle Tennessee University.  For more information about BlazeSports America’s wheelchair basketball program contact Jeff Jones at 404-270-2036 or jjones@blazesports.org

Posted in News, Programs, Wheelchair Basketball |

Hawks Finish Day 1 in the Dawg Pound with a 2-2 Record

Nebraska bballDay 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. 

Posted in News, Programs, Wheelchair Basketball |

Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks travel to the Dawg Pound

Midwest logo

BlazeSports’ Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks travel to Omaha, Nebraska for the 2014 Midwest Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, or as it is affectionately referred to by the locals – The Throw Down in the Dawg  Pound.  The Hawks will play 6 games in two days including 3 games against top 10 ranked teams in the country.  The Hawks will be represented by a partial Varsity squad of 7 players:

  • Samuel Armas #2        Villa Rica                                                                                                                      
  • Joshua Joines #11        Kennesaw                                                                                                                    
  • Treyvon Smith #14      Athens                                                                                                                                
  • Chance Boyd #15          Atlanta                                                                                                                                
  • Brent O’Grady #23       Marietta                                                                                                                             
  • Bryan Powell #25          Marietta                                                                                                                             
  • Luke Hutchinson #43   Marietta

 

Their schedule includes:

Saturday, Feb 8

  • 11:30 am v Sioux Falls (ND) #18    
  • 1:00 pm v Tulsa (OK) not in top 32
  • 4:30 pm v Timberwolves (MN) #4
  • 7:00 pm v Dallas (TX) #6    

Sunday, Feb 9   

  • 8:30 am v Nebraska #2  
  • 10:00 am v Utah not in top 32

The Hawks finished 19th last year and  hope to improve their national ranking to be able to play in the top 16 at this year’s National Championships. 

Follow the Hawks progress here, on Twitter of Facebook as they fight their way through the Dawg Pound.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Posted in Blog, News, Programs, Wheelchair Basketball |

Adaptive Climbing Program Starting January – Register Today

What is Blazing New Trails?

The goal of Blazing New Trails is to introduce youth with physical disabilities to a unique, life changing active experience through the sport of climbing.  In addition, the project will seek to enhance life skills in young people with physical disabilities. Climbing fosters a variety of unique skills such as confidence, teamwork, cooperation, communication and leadership and also requires individuals to literally step outside their comfort zone and achieve new goals they never thought possible.1470026_10151805101828181_652065966_n

The Blazing New Trails Program will consist of 4 indoor climbing sessions led by the team from Catalyst Sports.  These sessions will introduce the participants to the basics of climbing including knot tying, belaying, safety considerations and efficient climbing technique. 

The culmination of the training sessions will be an outdoor climbing experience where participants will have the opportunity to climb at the beautiful mountain setting of Sand Rock, Alabama. 

See the photos from Phase 1 (Sep-Nov 2013)     Indoor    Outdoor

 

The next phase of the Blazing New Trails Program begins January 2014:

 

When:

Indoor Climbing Sessions:

Saturday January 18th 2014, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Saturday January 25th 2014, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Saturday February 8th 2014, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Saturday February 22nd 2014, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Outdoor Climbing Day:

Saturday March 15th 2014 , (9am – 6pm approximately)

 

Where:

Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center
3701 Presidential Parkway, Atlanta,GA 30340 

Outdoor Climbing Day  – Sand Rock, Alabama.

 

Who will be the instructors for the indoor and outdoor climbing activities?

BlazeSports is pleased to partner with Catalyst Sports for the Blazing New Trails program.  Catalyst Sports is a non profit organization who specialize in providing adaptive climbing opportunities to anyone with a physical disability.  Instructors are fully qualified and experienced in adapted climbing.   www.catalystsports.org 

 

Cost:

There is no cost to take part in the indoor sessions or the outdoor climbing day.  All equipment, climb time and coaching is provided as part of the program.  For the outdoor climbing day,  transport from Atlanta to Alabama will also be provided. 

 

Who can apply to be part of the Blazing New Trails Program?

Youth aged 10-16 with a physical disability including spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, amputation, visual impairment.

Criteria for successful applicants:

  • Age 10-16 
  • Physical Disability
  • Able to attend a minimum of 3 of the 4 indoor climbing sessions
  • Able to attend outdoor climbing day
  • Willing to complete pre and post experience questionnaire and leadership skills evaluation

 

How will applicants be chosen?

There are 10 places available for the program.  Applicants who meet the criteria will be selected on a first come first served basis. 

 

How to apply?

To apply please complete online application by clicking HERE.

 

Download a complete copy of the Blazing New Trails Information Pack

 

Contact

Gillian Sharp
BlazeSports America
(404) 270-2034
gsharp@blazesports.org

 

This program is made possible through funding from The North Face Explore Fund 

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Posted in Featured, Programs |

Blazing New Trails Climbing Program Goes Outdoors

The 1st phase of the Blazing New Trails Climbing Program, funded by The North Face Explore Fund,  reached a finale on Saturday as the group of 10 young people aged 10-15 put their climbing skills and confidence to the test experiencing an outdoor climb for the 1st time ever. 

For 4 sessions prior to the outdoor day, the group who have a range of different physical disabilities, have been learning and practicing at Stone Summit Climbing Center in Atlanta.  This unique indoor facility was the perfect setting for the group of mostly novice climbers to learn to climb and gain confidence in a safe but challenging environment. 

For the Blazing New Trails Program, BlazeSports was delighted to partner with Catalyst Sports; an Atlanta based non-profit who specialize in adaptive climbing.  Eric Gray, founder of Catalyst and his team of highly trained and committed volunteers led the 4 indoor sessions focusing on a new skill each week.  The group learned communication and climbing commands, safety considerations, how to use and check their own equipment and that of their partners, how to belay, how to fall safely, how to tie knots and of course how to negotiate a huge vertical wall while proving that a physical disability is by no means a barrier to achieving this.  Over the 4 weeks the children continued to inspire and impress all those who watched on.  By the end of the second session, every member of the group had made it to the top of their 1st wall.  In addition, they were taking on leadership roles by belaying for a partner and taking responsibility for their safety and the safety of their friends. 

By the end of the four weeks, the group was ready for the great outdoors!  The climbing destination selected by Catalyst was a relatively accessible rock climbing region in Sand Rock, Alabama, about 2 ½ hours from Atlanta.  The group met amongst the boulders at 11am on Saturday November 16th and went through a briefing of the day’s activities.  Throughout the day, the children were able to try a variety of different climbing routes.   They commented that they found the real rock face much more challenging compared with the indoor wall, as the hand holds were no longer brightly colored and easy to grab.  Savannah Shanton, who has been learning to climb indoors for about 8 months had never climbed outdoors but decided that it was definitely the most fun!  Meanwhile the parents managed to find a route up the back of the rock face which allowed them to cheer and take pictures from a perfect vantage point.

At the end of the day, the children were exhausted but definitely had a well deserved sense of achievement.  They had all mastered an outdoor rock face.   The first phase of the climbing program was deemed a great success.  An additional bonus was that a number of parents decided to become trained in belaying and can now continue to support their children as they pursue their new interest and love of climbing.

 

BlazeSports would like to thank Eric from Catalyst Sports for his thorough planning and execution of a comprehensive adaptive climbing program.  In addition thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time to provide support, encouragement and a great sense of fun  for  the new climbers.

 See Full Gallery of pictures on our facebook page: http://goo.gl/hmQoHV 

 

The 2nd phase of the program begins early January 2014 and will follow the same format of 4 indoor sessions followed by an outdoor climbing day. 

Phase 2 dates registration is now OPEN.  Please click here for details. 

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Posted in Programs |

Junior Wheelchair Hawks Win Double Honors

2013 Jr WC Hawks Logo

 

The Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks open their 2013-14 season at the Winter Classic Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at the Talbert Recreation Center in Mooresville, North Carolina on November 2-3.  Hosted by the Charlotte Rollin Bobcats, the Abilities Unlimited of the Carolinas and Bridge II Sports, this tournament is the first of four tournaments before the April 2014 National Championships in Louisville.

The Junior W/C Hawks will have both a Prep Team (ages 8-12) and a Varsity Team (ages 13-19) competing in this tournament.  The Junior W/C Hawks’ game schedule for the tournament is:

Saturday, November 2:

8:30: Junior W/C Hawks Prep 28 vs. 10 Jr. Thunder (NC)

10:00: Junior W/C Hawks Varsity 56 vs. 15 Lakeshore (AL)

11:30:  Junior W/C Hawks Varsity 41 vs. 15 Jr. Thunder (NC)

2:00 Junior W/C Hawks Prep 20 vs. 2 Lakeshore (AL)

4:00 Junior W/C Hawks Varsity 55 vs. 11 Music City Thunder (TN)

 

Sunday, November 3:

8:30: Junior W/C Hawks Prep 26 vs. 2 Charlotte Bobcats

9:30: Junior W/C Hawks Prep 18 vs. 10 Mississippi WheelCats

11:30: Junior W/C Hawks Varsity 41 vs. 19 Music City Thunder (TN)

 

Junior Wheelchair Hawks Perfect in Season Opener

For the second season in a row the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks opened their season with perfect first day at the North Carolina Winter Classic. The Junior Wheelchair Hawks’ Prep team started the tournament with a 28 – 10 win over the Jr. Thunder (NC). Collin Lancaster led all scorers with 10 points followed by Eric Francis, Taevan Grant and Cameron Elzey each with 6 points.

20131102_093950

2013-14 Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Prep Team

Second year players Zachary Armas and Cade Maynor both played tremendous defensive.  Rookies Michael Kitchens and John Joiner played in their first NWBA prep game and also played great defense.

 

On the Varsity side of the tournament the Junior Wheelchair Hawks opened their tournament with a convincing win over their local rival, the Lakeshore Lakers (AL). Josh Joines led all scored with 28 points, while three Hawks, Samuel Armas, Treyvon Smith and Ben Baxter each added 8 points. Luke Hutchinson rounded out the Hawks’ scoring with 4 points. Brent O’Grady, Bryan Powell and Chance Boyd helped lead the team’s exceptional defense and the Hawks win 56-15.

The Varsity squad played back-to-back games facing the Junior Thunder (NC). The continued their impressive defense, while getting 10 0f 11 players on the offensive score sheet. Josh Joines led the Hawks with 8 points, while Treyvon Smith scored 7 and Samuel Armas scored 6. Makayla Jones, Ben Baxter and Chance Boyd each scored 4 points while Bryan Powell, Luke Hutchinson and Polina Glukhova each scored 2 points.  Rookies Makayla Jones and Polina Glukhova score their first ever points in a NWBA game.  Hawks win 41-15.

 

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2013-14 Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Varsity Team

 

 Junior Wheelchair Hawks Win Double Honors

The Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks were a perfect 8 for 8 at the 2013 North Carolina Winter Classic winning both the Varsity and Prep divisions. The Junior Wheelchair Hawks’ Prep team had back-to-back games on Sunday. Their first opponents were the host team, the Charlotte Rollin Bobcats.  Collin Lancaster led all scorers with 10 points followed by Eric Francis with 8, Cameron Elzey with 4 points and Taevan Grant and John Joiner each with 2 points. Hawks win 26-2.

In their second game of the day, the Junior Wheelchair Hawks Prep team faced the newly formed Mississippi Wheelcats. The Wheelcats proved to be the Hawks toughest competition of the weekend.  The Hawks continued with their trademark tenacious defense led by Cameron Elzy holding the Wheelcats to only 2 points at half time. Hawks got 8 points from rookie Eric Francis and veteran Collin Lancaster, with 2 points from Cameron Elzy to win 18-10. Rookies Michael Kitchen and John Joiner played well in their first tournament, while second year players Cade Manor and Zachery Armas rotated turns as the 5th starter.

Colin and Cameron

Cameron Elzy (left) All-Tournament Team and Collin Lancaster (right) MVP for the Winter Classic Prep Tournament.

With four straight wins, the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Prep Team won their second consecutive Winter Classic Championship. In addition to the Championship honors, Cameron Elzy was selected to the All-Tournament Team and Collin Lancaster was named MVP for the Winter Classic Prep Tournament.

The Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks’ Varsity Team earned a spot in Sunday’s Championship games with three wins on Saturday.  Their opponent was determined by the Lakeshore (AL) vs Music City (TN) game earlier Sunday morning. Music City squeezed out a close win and would face the Hawks for the second time in the tournament.  Defense was the key to the first win (55-11) over Music City and the Hawks proved once again to be up to the task. The Hawks started strong behind 12 points from Josh Joines and 7 points from Samuel Armas and led 31-0 at half time.  The Hawks defense allowed for all 11 players to play and the Hawks got additional scoring from Chance Boyd (6), Treyvon Smith (4), Luke Hutchinson (4), Ben Baxter (4), Bryan Powell (2) and Brent O’Grady (2). Rookie players Makayla Jones, Paulina Glukhova and Austin Davis played great minutes in their first tournament.  Hawks win 41-19.

Joshua Joines and Treyvon Smith

Josh Joines (left) Varsity All-Tournament Team and Treyvon Smith (right) MVP for the Varsity tournament

Josh Joines was selected to the Varsity All-Tournament Team and Treyvon Smith was named MVP for the Varsity tournament. 

For more information about the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks basketball program contact Jeff Jones:  jjones@blazesports.org.

Posted in Featured, News, Programs, Wheelchair Basketball |

Still Time to Register for Climbing!!

Posted in Featured, Programs |