UW-Whitewater has a great men's wheelchair basketball program and the guy leading, Jeremy Lade did one of his best coaching jobs of his young career leading his squad to a third place finish at this years, Intercollegiate Wheelchair basketball tournament. Here is the release from him and from Wheels in Motion, Congrats:
Your Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball teams traveled to Birmingham, AL to compete for the National Championship of the Intercollegiate Division. It was a long season of long bus rides that brought us to this point in our season. Our trip to Birmingham started on Wednesday and we arrived back home mid-morning on Sunday.
We entered the tournament as the #5 seeded team; having taken some losses during the regular season. In our quarter-final match-up to start off the NIWBT, we played the University of Missouri. Our regular season record was knotted at 2 wins a piece and this would be the rubber match for the season. With playoff intensity, both teams tipped off with the desire to move on in what can only be described as March Madness. Carter Arey poured in 24 points for the Tigers, but we had 7 players contributing on our offensive end with 3 scoring in double digits. Your Warhawks moved on to the semi-finals with a score of 66-52.
In a crazy season in the division; our semi-final game put us up against the one team in the division that we have yet to beat. The University of Texas-Arlington entered the tournament as the #1 seed and previously proved to be a challenge for us to overcome. Jorge Sanchez, UTA’s Player of the Year candidate dropped in 27 points on an efficient 12 of 16 shooting. We hung in the game with hot shooting in the 1st half, 50% from the floor and put ourselves in a position to keep it close towards the end of the game. As the final buzzer sound, we ultimately had too many turnovers and empty possessions as we fell short. This loss sent us to the 3rd place game against a familiar opponent.
On the final day of the tournament we were scheduled in a heavy weight bout against the University of Illinois. In a year that had the most contenders in as long as I can remember, we knew this 3rd place game would be a back and forth battle. Heroki Kozai, this year’s Player of the Year, showed off his offensive arsenal dropping in 31 points from all over the floor. His PIC, partner in crime, Nick Goncin proved to have an arsenal of his own adding 27 points to their attack. Our offense and defense was firing on all cylinders and peeked at the right time. It was especially evident late in the game as the basketball was swinging faster than their defense could rotate allowing us to knock down some clutch baskets. We came out on top in a very close game. The final of the 3rd place was decided by just 1 point and proved that our team had made some very large improvements throughout the long season.
A special Thanks to Joe Hargrow, our only graduating senior this season. His dedication to this program will forever be felt.
This season would not have been so great without our volunteer assistants. HUGE Thanks to Steve Mazzara, Dave Kirst, Mitch Rankin, Steve Bicek, John McCarthy, Kearstin Gehlhausen and Ashley Kosenesky-Ionescu.
Thanks to everyone who has supported our program and our team. It is that support that helps us to continue to do what we do.
2nd Team All-American: Derrick Bisnett
All-Rookie Team: John Piazza
Academic All-American: Derrick Bisnett
Academic All-American: Shai Ron
Jeremy “Opie” Lade