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    NWBA Hall of Fame Member Ella Chafee Has Passed Away

    06/18/2019, 11:00pm CDT
    By Linda Mastandrea*

    It is with profound sadness that the National Wheelchair Basketball Association announces Ella M. Chafee’s death. We are deeply saddened to have lost a beloved NWBA Hall of Fame member. 

    Chafee was a graduate of the University of Illinois, long-time member of the Midwest Olympians and Paralympians, supporter of Chicago's bid for the 2016’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, and founding member of the RIC Express/RIC Chicago Sky wheelchair basketball team. Ella Chafee’s Paralympic Games experience covers four decades and multiple sports. 

    Beginning at the 1964 Tokyo Games, Chafee won silver and bronze medals in swimming events, while earning another bronze medal in the foil fencing. Four years later, she won gold in the 4 x 100-meter track relay. Chafee returned 28 years later to compete in foil and epee fencing at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, placing highest among all US women in foil with an 8th place finish. 

    Among her many accolades through the years, Ella was inducted into the Wheelchair Sports USA Hall of Fame in 1990, the NWBA Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Fitness Sports and Recreation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Ella dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities—particularly girls and women—through sports participation, and touched people all over the world with her efforts. 

    Her obituary follows: 

    Ella Chafee (nee Cox)

    Beloved wife of the late Ian C. Chafee, Loving mother of Ian (Debra) Chafee & Kathleen (Eric) Hummitsch.
    Cherished grandmother of Grace, Cameron, Katelyn & Faith. Dear sister of Rita M. Cox. Fond sister in law of Hope Chafee.

    Resting at Thompson & Kuenster Funeral Home, 5570 W. 95th St in Oak Lawn where Services will take place Friday at 10:00 am.
    Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
    Visitation Thursday from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials to Lincoln Way Special Recreation Association, 1900 Heatherglen Drive, New Lenox, IL 60451 would be greatly appreciated.

    To donate click here. 

    *Thank you Linda Mastandrea for writing this wonderful piece about Ella 

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will feature the Toyota Team USA Men’s Senior National Team playing six domestic exhibition games against Spain and Japan. The featured games, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, June 22 at Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas (a north suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex). The following are details of the two featured games:

    • Team USA vs. Japan         10 a.m. CT
    • Spain vs. Team USA            1 p.m. CT

    Tickets for the Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown featured games are free. These featured games will include a Fan Fest area, an interactive game experience, Meet and Greet opportunity with athletes and much more fun!

    Team USA’s first featured game of the 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown is against Japan at 10 a.m. Central time, which finished 9th place at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. The U.S. has a perfect 9-0 record against Japan in IWBF and Paralympic competitions. A recent meeting of these two teams was the 2010 IWBF World Championships, where the U.S. won 89-46.

    The U.S. will play their second featured game against European rival Spain at 1 p.m. Central time. This game is a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in which the Americans beat Spain 68-52.

    The remainder of the games for the 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will be hosted on campus at University of Texas-Arlington. Please click here for a complete schedule of games for this event.

    The 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown will serve as a tune-up for Team USA for the 2019 ParaPan American Games scheduled from August 23 to September 1, 2019, in Lima, Peru. The 2019 ParaPan American Games are the qualifying event for Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

    Head Coach Ron Lykins will lead the team into action, assisted on the USA bench by Robb Taylor and Jon Sikora. Scott Meyer serves as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala filling the athletic trainer position. Assisting Valaca at the trainer position is Jeremy Johnson.

    The 12 members of the Toyota Team USA Men’s Senior National Team include Brian Bell, John Boie, Aaron Gouge, Trevon Jenifer, Matt Lesperance, Ryan Neiswender, Mike Paye, Jorge Sanchez, Steve Serio, Matt Scott, Josh Turek, and Jake Williams.

    The NWBA invites you to attend this unique opportunity to watch some of the best players in our sport compete on U.S. soil and in a ‘showcased’ fashion courtesy of the support from Toyota. Please feel free to spread the word regarding the featured games using the flyer below as we hope to ‘pack the gym’ to cheer on Team USA.

    Follow 2019 Toyota USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Showdown news on,, and

    About the NWBA

    Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball in the United States. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is comprised of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams across twenty-two conferences. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of eight divisions including:  Division I, Division II, Division III, Women’s Division, Intercollegiate Men’s Division and Intercollegiate Women’s Division and Junior Division.

    As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the NWBA is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.

    For further information about the NWBA, go to the official website



    Toyota Team USA Men's Training Camp kicks off

    06/05/2019, 1:45pm CDT
    By Rebekah Markovitz

    Ryan Neiswender named to 2019 Toyota Team USA Men's Roster

    05/31/2019, 6:15pm CDT
    By Bryan Marseille

    COLORADO SPRINGS -- Ryan Neiswender has been named by Head Coach Ron Lykins to the 2019 Toyota Team USA Men's National Wheelchair Basketball team roster.  Ryan Neiswender of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was last a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. squad at the 2017 America's Cup Zonal Qualifier in Cali, Columbia.

    Neiswender will replace Tyler Buysse on the roster, who has resigned from the team due to personal reasons.

    The 2019 U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team will comprise of 12 athletes that will compete at the 2019 ParaPan American Games scheduled to be held from August 23 to September 1, 2019, in Lima, Peru.

    2019 U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Senior National Team

    Brian Bell | Forest Park, IL | Classification: 4.5

    John Boie | Milton, WI | 1.0

    Aaron Gouge | Grand Prairie, TX | 2.0

    Trevon Jenifer | Edinboro, PA | 2.5

    Matt Lesperance | Sun Prairie, WI | 1.0

    Ryan Neiswender | Lebanon, PA | 2.0

    Mike Paye | Macomb, MI | 3.0

    Jorge Sanchez | Dublin, CA | 4.0

    Steve Serio | Westbury, NY | 3.5

    Matt Scott | Detroit, MI | 3.5

    Josh Turek | Council Bluffs, IA | 3.5

    Jake Williams | Milwaukee, WI | 2.5

    U.S. crowned 2019 Women's U25 World Champions

    05/29/2019, 1:15pm CDT
    By NWBA

    Suphanburi, Thailand – Team USA goes undefeated en route to capturing the 2019 IWBF U25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship, beating Australia 62-25.

    Pressure defense defined this U.S. squad throughout this tournament. Whenever Head Coach Trooper Johnson asked his team to clamp down, they answered the call and this game was no different. They forced the Australians into 31 turnovers in this match, which limited them to nearly half the shot attempts of Team USA.

    On the offensive end, Team USA started relatively slow compared to earlier games, but that didn’t last long. Co-captain Rose Hollermann of Elysian, MN, led all scorers for Team USA with 18 points. After an 82% shooting performance in the semi-final vs. Japan, Hollerman would go 9 for 15 (60%) against Australia.


    Trooper Johnson, USA Head Coach underlined his priorities for this event: “Going for gold in any level of World Championship should always be the most important. But, a very close second was strengthening our pipeline even more. The youth on this team got critical game experience, and I could not be any happier with how well they showed up.”

    Coach described that these athletes, of course, have skills to work on to shine at the next level, but he said he wants to them to celebrate with their friends and family who came over to Suphanburi, Thailand to support them.

    Two of the athletes who gained significant experience at this tournament are Lindsay Zurbrugg (Portland, OR) and Ixhelt Gonzalez (Chicago, IL). Zurbrugg was the second leading scorer for the Americans with 16 points. Although she has some international experience under her belt, she played an important role as a starter and shooter on this team.

    Ixhelt Gonzalez has less experience internationally but came on to the court with the second unit throughout this tournament and made key contributions. In the championship game, she contributed 10 points in 20 minutes while adding 4 rebounds. Her point total in line with her scoring average of 10.4 throughout this tournament. At just 14 years old, she has a lot of promise as a National Team athlete moving forward.

    USA has now won 2 out of the last 3 IWBF U25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships (Team USA sat out of the most recent in Beijing, 2015). The Senior Women’s National Team is preparing for the ParaPan American Games in Lima, Peru this August. For more information and updates, please add to your favorites.


    2019 IWBF U25 World Championships

    Suphanburi, Thailand

    2018 IWBF World Championships Results

    USA def. Turkey 70-16 (W) USA def. Germany 62-11 (W)

    USA def. Australia 56-31 (W)

    USA def. Thailand 65-10 (W)

    USA def. Japan 78-24 (W)

    USA def. Australia 62-25 (W)

    Suphanburi, Thailand – Team USA wins their semi-final game against Japan in convincing fashion, with a final score of 78-24. Co-Captain, Rose Hollermann of Elysian, MN, leads the Americans into the U25 World Championship Final with a 33-point explosion.

    Team USA Head Coach, Trooper Johnson stuck with the defensive strategy that delivered his team to the semifinal: various versions of their pressure defense. The chair skills and speed of his starting line-up caused quick turnovers and late shot attempts for the Japanese, which resulted in 12 fast break points for the U.S.

    Hollermann led the Americans with 31 points in the first quarter off of an eye-popping 14-of-17 shooting (82%) from the field. Team USA had a 27-point run bridging the 1st and 2nd quarters, with Hollermann delivering 21 of the 27. Co-Captain, Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, TX had a breakout first half of her own, dishing out 10 assists.

    Coach Johnson, a prolific scorer in his day, said of Hollermann’s performance: “This was a special game by any standard. She hit whatever shot she put up, and once she got it going it was like, what is she going to do next. Her chair skills and movement were almost as exciting to watch as the ball going through the net.”

    Lindsey Zurbrugg of Portland, OR was the second leading scorer for Team USA, contributing 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting in 27 minutes of play. 

    Finals are tomorrow, and Team USA will have a rematch against Australia at 4:15 AM (Eastern). The Americans defeated Australia during pool play 65-10. Australia punched their ticket to the final by winning a defensive battle against Great Britain (42-36). If Team USA wins the final, they will have recaptured the Championship, having won in 2011 (USA did not compete in 2015).

    2019 IWBF U25 World Championships

    Suphanburi, Thailand

    2018 IWBF World Championships Results

    USA def. Turkey 70-16 (W) USA def. Germany 62-11 (W)

    USA def. Australia 56-31 (W)

    USA def. Thailand 65-10 (W)

    USA def. Japan 78-24 (W)


    U.S. Women’s Schedule for 2019 IWBF U25 World Championships

    May 28 Final 4:15 AM (Eastern / New York)

    Suphanburi, Thailand – USA wins their quarterfinal game against the host country, Thailand, 65-10. Ixhelt Gonzalez of Chicago, IL delivered another strong all-around performance with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.

    The undefeated Team USA were clear favorites on paper, as Thailand entered this game without a victory. Head Coach Trooper Johnson opened the game in a stifling half-court defense, which limited the Thai squad to just 4 points in the half.

    Emily Oberst of Brookfield, WI continued her strong shooting performance from pool play. She led the Americans with 8 points in the first half on 3-of-7 shooting from the field while adding 2 free throws. 

    The second half was highlighted by an important milestone for Abigail Bauleke of Savage, MN. She registered her first points as a member of Team USA when she scored a lay-up off of a pick and roll. Hungry for more, she continued her aggressive pick and roll action and ended the game going 2-4 for 4 points.

    When asked about his focus for this game, Coach Johnson stated: “We always want to start our games strong on the defensive end and generate open looks with good ball movement. As a staff, we talked about getting our younger athletes as many reps as possible.”

    Another highlight of the afternoon was watching the comradery between the teams. Thailand was just as excited to interact with the players on Team USA off of the courts, snapping pictures with Abby Dunkin and Rose Hollermann. In a strong show of sportsmanship, Team USA offered cheers for their lesser equipped opponents when they scored each of their 5 baskets.

    The semifinals are tomorrow, and Team USA will face Japan at 4:00 AM (Eastern). Japan has performed well at this U25 World Championship, earning a record of 3-1.


    2019 IWBF U25 World Championships

    Suphanburi, Thailand

    2018 IWBF World Championships Results

    USA def. Turkey 70-16 (W) USA def. Germany 62-11 (W)

    USA def. Australia 56-31 (W)

    USA def. Thailand 65-10 (W)


    U.S. Women’s Schedule for 2019 IWBF U25 World Championships

    May 27 Semifinal 4:00 AM (Eastern / New York)

    May 28 Final TBD

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