Story Contributor: Gary Ven John
December 8-9 twelve teams participated in the Junior Suns 6th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, West Coast Bid Regional at the Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center in Phoenix. Teams from Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and the Junior Suns were represented. After twenty four games the basketballs stopped bouncing and a winner was crowned. The Nebraska Red Dawgs defeated the Dallas Junior Mavericks to defend their number 1 national ranking. The Utah Rec’ N Crew finished in third place.
Earned individual award winners are All Tournament team. Colleen Moen San Diego Hammer, Marshall Lindsay Utah Rec’ N Crew, James Bohnett BORP Bay Cruisers (Berkeley CA), Josh Brewer Team St. Luke’s (Spokane, WA), and your Phoenix Sun Joe Underwood. Sportsmanship award to a well deserved Marshall Lindsay and the tournament MVP went to Dylan Fishback Nebraska Red Dawgs.
Tournament scoring average leaders were; Josh Brewer 15 – Team St. Luke; B. McDaniel 14.5, M. Lindsay 12.3 – Utah Rec’ N Crew; Trajon McCallister 18, Zak 11.67 – Seattle Jr. Sonics; Steger 11, Buysse 10.6, Ramirez 10.4 – Dallas Jr. Mavericks; Colleen Moen 15.75, Jose Estrada 12.75 – San Diego Hammer; James Bohnett 22, C Rodriquez 13 – BORP Bay Cruisers; Ocanas 10, Bink 10 – Denver Jr. Nuggets; Dylan Fishback 21, Micah Dotzler 12.75 – Nebraska Red Dawgs; Stephen Binning 15.5, Joe Underwood 15.2 – Phoenix Banner Wheelchair Jr. Suns.
The prep (pre-teens) division had two teams participating and playing four games Saturday and Sunday. San Diego took home the first place trophy and the Prep Suns took second.
A big thank you to all the volunteers that made this event happen. The Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association provide transportation and lunch on Sunday. Arizona Disabled Sports, partner of the Banner Wheelchair Suns-Juniors, provided tournament t-shirts goodie bags and lunch and dinner on Saturday. And to Dr. Susan Wolf and Tiffany Wilkinson from Empowerment Research for the countless preparation hours and serving lunch on Sunday. And a big thank you to staff at the SpoFit for their professional work to make this tournament the huge success.