(Burlington, Ont.) The first day of competition at the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship in Burlington, Ont. is in the books with four teams emerging unscathed. The B.C. Royals, Bulldogs de Quebec, Gladiateurs de Laval, and Alberta Northern Lights carry perfect 2-0 records into their quarter-final matches set for Saturday at the Haber Recreation Centre where twelve club teams are competing for the national title.
Participating athletes include past, present, and future members of Team Canada including local Burlington Vipers’ athlete Melanie Hawtin, of Oakville, Ont., who will soon represent Team Canada at the upcoming 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship June 20-28 in Toronto, Ont. Joining Hawtin on the hardcourt are fellow Canadian Women’s National Team members Elaine Allard, of St. Eustache, Que. (playing for the Gladiateurs de Laval), Tamara Steeves of Mississauga, Ont. (playing for the Southern Ontario Suns), and Darda Sales of London, Ont. (representing the London Forest City Flyers). The hometown Vipers club alsp features London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and Burlington native Brandon Wagner.
Game 1 – Gladiateurs de Laval 87 vs. Twin City Spinners 49
Carl Pelletier led the Gladiateurs to a convincing 87-49 victory over the Spinners by scoring 32 points in the first game of the 2014 CWBL National Championship. Alexandre Courcelles pitched in with 14 points, while Yvon Rouillard and Marc-Antoine Ducharme had 13 points each. Tyler Miller, who had 16 points, and Warren Ibbotson led the Spinners offensively with 13 points.
Game 2 – Bulldogs de Quebec 70 vs. Burlington Vipers 26
The Bulldogs became the second Quebec-based team to get off to a great start with a 70-26 win against the Vipers. Maxime Poulin paced the floor with 22 points, while François Lavoie contributed 11 points and Philippe Vermette 10 points for the Bulldogs. Brandon Wagner led the Vipers with 12 points.
Game 3 – Variety Village Rebels 67 vs. Southern Ontario Suns 56
Spurred on by an outstanding second quarter in which he potted 15 points, James Treuer held the hot hand for the Rebels in their 67-56 defeat of the Suns. Treuer scored a game-high 24 points, while teammate Jesse McNalley finished a shade back with 23 points. The Suns benefited from good games from Kevin Wakeling and Corin Metzger with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Game 4 – Saskatchewan Club ’99 69 vs. London Forest City Flyers 40
Blaine Hancock delivered a massive 32-point performance for Club ’99 in a 69-40 win over the Flyers. Gregg Johnstone had 14 points and Sara Brown had 11 points for the winning side. Jeff Dennis piloted the Flyers attack landing 15 points.
Game 5 – Saskatchewan Paratroopers 54 vs. Burlington Vipers 12
It was a one-sided affair in favour of the Paratroopers when they ousted the Vipers 54-12. Mitch Bossaer scored a game-high 18 points and Brody Johb had 12 points in the victory. Once again it was Brandon Wagner leading the Vipers with eight points, while Paul Plewa chipped in with four points.
Game 6 – Twin City Spinners 53 vs. Vaughan City Lashers 49
One of the day’s closest games came courtesy of the two familiar foes when the Spinners edged the Lashers 53-49 midway through the first day of competition. Chantal Benoit led all players with a game-high 19 points for Vaughan City, but the Lashers were unable to outduel the one-two combo of Warran Ibbotson and Aaron McDonald who tallied 16 points each for Twin City en route to victory. Darren Bentley added 13 points for the Spinners and Chris Stoutenburg finished in double-digits with 10 points for the Lashers.
Game 7 – Alberta Northern Lights 68 vs. London Forest City Flyers 38
The Northern Lights showcased solid team chemistry when they distributed the ball around and got four players into double-digits on the scoresheet overtaking the Flyers 68-38. Arinn Young was the top point producer with 13 points. Willy Moronchuk, Bradon Doll, and Adam Reid all collaborated to put up 10 points apiece, while Tara Feser finished one point back with nine. The Flyers countered with Bill Langeveld who accumulated 11 points and Ron Sanderson had eight points.
Game 8 – BC Royals 71 vs. Southern Ontario Suns 27
B.C. captured their first win of the tournament with a commanding 71-27 victory against Southern Ontario. Jack Kosterman, Deion Green and Ross MacDonald got off to a great start in the first half of the game before turning the offensive over to Avril Harris in the final two frames. Kosterman finished with a game-high 15 points for the Royals, while Green and Harris kept pace with 14 points each, and MacDonald had 11 points. Once again the Suns relied on Kevin Wakeling who led his squad with 12 points.
Game 9 – Gladiateurs de Laval 76 vs. Vaughn City Lashers 53
Laval had another strong offensive output putting up 76 points against the Lashers to capture their second win of the tournament by a score of 76-53. Carl Pelletier paced the Gladiateurs with 19 points, while Marc-Antoine Ducharme and Yvon Rouillard looked sharp with 17 points each. The Lashers responded with Chris Stoutenburg’s game-high output of 22 points, while Chantal Benoit continued to put the ball in basket tallying 16 points in the loss.
Game 10- Bulldogs de Quebec 80 vs. Saskatchewan Paratroopers 39
The Bulldogs unleashed some of their offensive punch when they defeated the Paratroopers 80-39 to improve their record to two wins. Maxime Poulin dominated the floor with 23 points, while rising stars Jonathan Vermette and Vincent Dallaire combined for 24 points. Reid Richard led the Paratroopers with 10 points. Gabby Roberts-Winter and Brody Johb scored eight points apiece.
Game 11 – BC Royals 66 vs. Variety Village Rebels 53
B.C. found themselves trailing 20-14 at the end of the first quarter in their match against Variety Village but a steady diet of Deion Green, Jon Vliegenthart, and Amanda Yan helped them right the ship in the second half of the game. Green led the comeback with 18 points, while Vliegenthart and Yan scored nine points and eight points, respectively, to overtake their opponent. Jesse McNalley continued to wield a hot hand for Variety Village scoring 14 points in the first quarter of their match against the Royals. His pace would inevitably slow, but he did finish the game with a match-leading 25 points. His teammate James Treuer remained more consistent accumulating his 20 points in bunches throughout the four quarters.
Game 12 – Alberta Northern Lights 64 – Saskatchewan Club ’99 56
Bradon Doll and Willy Moronchuk took over the attack to help propel the Northern Lights 64-56 over Club ’99. Doll scored 15 points in the second half as part of his game-leading, 23-point effort, while Moronchuk hit four consecutive free-throws to cap-off his 19-point night. Club ’99 once again looked to Blaine Hancock and Gregg Johnstone for their offensive gifts. They combined for 31 of Saskatchewan’s points.
Day 2 Preview:
- Quarter-final #1 – Gladiateurs de Laval (2-0) vs. Saskatchewan Paratroopers (1-1) at 9 a.m. ET
- Quarter-final #2 – Bulldogs de Quebec (2-0) vs. Twin City Spinners (1-1) at 9 a.m. ET
- Quarter-final #3 – BC Royals (2-0) vs. Saskatchewan Club ’99 (1-1) at 11 a.m. ET
- Quarter-final #4 – Alberta Northern Lights (2-0) vs. Variety Village Rebels (1-1) at 11 a.m. ET
- Consolation #1- Vaughan City Lashers (0-2) vs. London City Flyers (0-2) at 1 p.m. ET
- Consolation #2 – Burlington Vipers (0-2) vs. Southern Ontario Suns (0-2) at 1 p.m. ET
- Placement Games #1 and #2 (TBD) at 3 p.m. ET
- Semifinals #1 and #2 (TBD) at 5 p.m. ET
The weekend festivities also include Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s annual awards banquet, where former player and five-time Paralympian Roy Henderson and long-time official Trevor Kerr enter into the Hall of Fame.
Competition continues through the weekend and wraps up with a medal ceremony following the gold medal game Sunday April 6 at 2 p.m. ET. Burlington Mayer Rick Goldring and City Councillor Blair Lancaster will be on hand for the ceremonial tip-off prior to the gold medal game.
About the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League
The Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) was founded in 1986 and has two primary divisions: the Open division and the Women’s division. The league features wheelchair basketball club teams from across Canada and culminates each season with a national championship for both the Open and Women’s divisions.
The league is fully integrated as both divisions welcome athletes with a disability as well as able-bodied athletes to play in the spirit of competition. It often features some of the country’s best wheelchair basketball players, including past, present and future members of Team Canada.