LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – On the first day of the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament presented by ABC Medical, fans were given thrilling games with a few interesting upsets. To open the tournament, only the Adult Divisions played. The Junior Divisions will begin their tournament on Friday, April 13.
In the Adult Division I pool, things mostly went as expected. The semi-finals in the DI tournament will feature matches between the New York Rollin’ Knicks of Floral Park, New York against the MedStar NRH Punishers of Washington D.C. and the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks of Arlington, Texas against the Sacramento Rollin’ Kings of Davis, California. The Mavericks and Kings played a triple-overtime game during the season that led to the highest scoring regulation game in NWBA history. Fans will be in for a treat as these two offensive titans face off again.
The largest crowd of the day gathered for the matchup between the Toronto Rollin’ Raptors of Nepean, Ontario and the Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks in the second round of the DI tournament. The game was neck-and-neck through all four quarters and teams were quick to notice that the Mavericks, who have dominated the tournament over the last 15 years, may have been eliminated. In the end, the Mavs drew up a play to gain a two-point lead and held the Raptors scoreless in the last 20 seconds to secure the 62-60 victory.
The final four for the Adult Division II tournament will feature the NMCSD Wolfpack of San Diego, California; Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets of Cornelius, North Carolina; Toronto Rollin’ Raptors of Nepean, Ontario and the Wisconsin Thunder of Whitewater, Wisconsin. The Cinderella story of the final four is the Toronto Rollin’ Raptors, who entered the tournament as the 14 seed. They will face the Wisconsin Thunder, who surprised many people themselves by making it this far after earning the seven seed. They defeated the two seed Nassau Kings, 59-48, in the second round.
The 14 seed Raptors defeated the three seed Ft. Lauderdale Sharks of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in an impressive first-round victory, 63-53. Then, they defeated the Lakeshore Storm of Birmingham, Alabama, 56-48, in the second round to make them the surprise team of the tournament.
The Adult Division III tournament was equally excited and featured some impressive upsets. The semi-finals for their tournament will feature the Connecticut Spokebenders of Meriden, Connecticut against the Harrisonburg Cardinals of Orange, Virginia and the RHI Pacers of Indianapolis, Indiana against the Triangle Thunder of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Although they lost in the second round, the 13 seed Pittsburgh Steelwheelers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania impressively defeated the four seed Columbus WC Basketball Club of Dayton, Ohio, 54-35 in the first round. But the most impressive upset came from the seven seed Triangle Thunder, who defeated the two seed TIRR Memorial Hermann Hotwheels of Houston, Texas in the second round, 60-43.
After an exciting opening day on Thursday, fans can look forward to the Adult Division semi-finals, as well as the opening rounds of the Junior Divisions on Friday, April 13.