(Montreal, Que.) The Gladiateurs de Laval will battle the undefeated BC Royals for the gold medal at the 2017 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Variety Village and the Alberta Northern Lights will face off in the bronze medal game.
The Gladiateurs de Laval have made it to the gold medal game four times out of the last five years and won the championship title in 2013.
“Both teams have had good tournaments so far so I think it will be fun to face a strong team. We’re going to have to play hard because they’re fast and have a lot of shooters but I think if we can control them it will go well for us,” said Laval player Vincent Dallaire.
The bronze medal contest is set for 9 a.m. ET on Sunday followed by the championship match at 11 a.m. ET. Both games will be webcast live via Parasports Quebec on Facebook.
Round robin action concluded Saturday with CIVA de Montreal (2-3) securing fifth place at the event, while the Calgary Grizzlies (2-2) finished in sixth place and Saskathewan Club ’99 (1-4) placed seventh.
Game 10 – Calgary Grizzlies 35 vs. CIVA de Montreal 49
In the opening match of the second day of competition, CIVA de Montreal overpowered the Calgary Grizzlies 49-35. The game began with the teams matching one another shot for shot. The first half ultimately ended 21 – 20 in favour of the Grizzlies. After halftime, CIVA returned to the court with renewed intensity, keeping the Grizzlies from finding the net with a solid defense and claiming the lead for good. Benjamin Palmer once again led the CIVA offense with a game-high 17 points, while the Grizzlies’ top scorer Erik Vliegenthart collected 9 points.
Game 11 – Gladiateurs de Laval 71 – Variety Village Rolling Rebels 50
The Gladiateurs de Laval punched their ticket to the gold medal game with a definitive 71-50 win against Variety Village. Both teams appeared evenly matched, exchanging baskets out of the gate but Laval quickly set the pace by carving out an eight-point lead after the first half. Variety Village was unable to come back as Laval widened the gap and denied the Rebel’s offensive pushes. Jesse McNalley dropped 25 points for Variety Village while Marc-Antoine Ducharme led Laval’s charge with 20 points.
Game 12 – Saskatchewan Club `99 46 vs. Calgary Grizzlies 53
In another closely contested match, the Calgary Grizzlies defeated Saskatchewan Club ’99 53-46. The Grizzlies pushed to an early lead in the first half, leaving Saskatchewan trailing by seven points. With solid effort Saskatchewan managed to shrink the gap to four points but were unable to keep up with the Grizzlies’ consistent shooting. Erik Vliegenthart was the top point producer for the Grizzlies with 25 points while Saskatchewan saw a concerted effort from Gregg Johnstone with 15 points, followed closely behind by Jared Sajtos and Mitch Bossaer who talled 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Game 13 – BC Royals 75 vs. Alberta Northern Lights 48
Continuing their undefeated streak and earning a berth to the championship game, the BC Royals claimed a 75-48 win against the Alberta Northern Lights. The game began with both teams exchanging leads with the first quarter ending in a 16-16 tie. BC quickly stole the show with a coordinated offense and consistent shooting to dominate the scoreboard 35-20 at half. BC was able to keep a strong press on Alberta by shutting down their attempts to climb out of the deficit. Team Canada player Ben Moronchuk produced a team-high 20 points for Alberta, while his national team counterpart Bo Hedges countered that output with 26 points for the Royals.
“We just continued on with our press and got more comfortable with where we needed to be which allowed us to stop the ball and create tougher shots for them and give us a few turnovers,” said Hedges. “Laval is a great team and it should be a good game. We just have to play together as a group and take shots when we get them.”
Game 14 – CIVA de Montreal 66 vs. Saskatchewan Club `99 54
The last game of the day was set to decide the placement of all three teams already eliminated from the playoffs. Both teams came flying out of the gates trading baskets back and forth. CIVA was able to capitalize on some turnovers caused by their full court pressure seeing them head into recess up six points. Demonstrating the tenacity they have shown all tournament, Saskatchewan clawed back to within four heading into the final quarter, but the home team was not to be foiled and secured their fifth place finish with a 66 – 54 win. William Gamache was the top point producer for Montreal with 25 points, while Gregg Johnston added 16 points for the Saskatchewan side
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.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last six Paralympic Games.