Houston, We Have No Problem

Junior Championships close out 2022 NWBA Tournament

Junior Championships close out 2022 NWBA Tournament

Brooks Bullsharks player Tim Houston was surprised by the Mississippi Wheelcats’ gameplan to guard him.

Last time, when the two teams met in the Atlanta Peach Slam in January, they defended him tightly. But in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Toyota Junior Varsity National Invitational Tournament on Sunday morning, that wasn’t the case.

“They gave me a little bit more pressure and I passed more last time,” says Houston, a Jacksonville, Fla., resident. “But they changed their game plan and it worked out in my favor.”

Tim Houston, No.34, helped bring his team to victory during the 2022 NWBA Toyota Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).

 

Did it ever.

Houston dominated and scored a game-high 45 points, as the No. 24 seed Bullsharks defeated the No. 26 seed Mississippi Wheelcats 63-48 in the championship game at Wichita Hoops in Bel Aire, Kan.

Houston went 18-for-30 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the foul line. He also pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out a handful of assists. The 18-year-old was Mr. Do-Everything for the team based out of Jacksonville.

“Man, this was my last year, my first year of juniors. Coming out on top, it’s a good way to end it,” says Houston, a left above-the-knee amputee who will be playing wheelchair basketball for the University of Alabama in the fall. “But I’m really happy for the kids. They’ve got a long way to go. I’m really excited for them.”

After Mississippi cut the deficit to 13-10 with 11 minutes and 12 seconds left in the first half, Brooks went on a 13-0 run and rolled from there. Houston scored 11 of those points, including a 3-pointer.

He was the only Brooks player to score in double figures. Daniel Phillips added six points and eight rebounds, while Kai Ryan had six points and five rebounds.

John Davis led the Wheelcats with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while K.J. Fields, a 2019 Sports ’N Spokes Junior Athlete of the Year, had 10 points and four rebounds and Joel Burns added eight points and four rebounds.

The Bullsharks defeated the No. 25 seed Portland Junior Wheel Blazers, 48-20, in the first round and upset the No. 17 seed Houston Hustle, 57-44, in the quarterfinals and the No. 20 seed Nebraska Red Dawgs, 59-33, in the semifinals.

The Wheelcats defeated the No 23 seed RMF Trojans, 46-40, in the first round, upset the No. 18 seed Dallas Junior Mavericks Blue, 26-16, in the quarterfinals and upended the No. 22 seed Chicago Skyhawks, 61-39, in the semifinals.

 

Defense Lifts Kansas City to Junior Prep Championship

A second-half defensive adjustment by coaches Matt Bollig and Josh Bailey helped propel the top-seeded Kansas City Kings to a National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Toyota Junior Prep Division Wheelchair Basketball National Championships title Sunday afternoon.

They forced the No. 2 seed Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets Purple into eight second-half turnovers and kept Cameron Ruis from scoring as much over the final two periods for a 31-26 title game victory at Wichita Hoops in Bel Aire, Kan.

“[Coaches Bollig and Bailey] told us to double [Noah Lewis]. He’d send people to help and we just executed the defense the way he told us to,” says Prep Division championship game Most Valuable Player Yandel Pina.

Tied at 12 at halftime, Kansas City outscored Charlotte 8-2 in the third quarter to take a 20-14 lead. Pina, a sixth-grader, had six of his eight points during the period and also provided a defensive lift, forcing a couple turnovers.

Kansas City held Ruis to just six points in the second half, after he scored 12 in the first two periods. He finished with a game-high 18 points and had four rebounds.

Kansas City Kings Yandel Pina helped bring his team to victory during the 2022 NWBA Toyota Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).

 

“Yeah, defense was key,” says Pina, a 12-year-old Kansas City, Mo., resident, who was born with spina bifida. “Defense was the most important in the second half.”

Kansas City held on the fourth quarter from there. Isiah Barr scored five of his team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter, and Jeremiah Mangels had two of his four.

Tucker Anderson had four points and six rebounds, while Jayson Patterson had four points and five rebounds for Charlotte.

Kansas City defeated the No. 16 seed LWSRA Hawks, 42-25, in the opening round, cruised past the No. 8 seed Cincinnati Dragons, 60-10, in the quarterfinals and knocked out the No. 5 seed WASA Junior Bucks, 38-27, in the semifinals.

Charlotte defeated the No. 15 seed Lakeshore Sharks, 28-10, in the first round and then beat the No. 7 seed Nebraska Red Dawgs, 46-23, in the quarterfinals and the No. 3 seed Roger C. Peace Rollin’ Tigers, 32-26, in the semifinals to advance.

“We won, so I’m grateful for that,” Pina says.

 

Howell, Hornets Cruise To Junior Varsity Division Title

The Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets ran away to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Toyota Junior Varsity Division Wheelchair Basketball National Championships title.

A three-player attack, spearheaded by championship game and all-tournament team Most Valuable Player Preston Howell IV, the No. 2 seed Rolling Hornets cruised to a 67-42 victory over the No. 4 seed Courage Kenny Jr. Rolling Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon at Wichita Hoops in Bel Aire, Kansas.

Preston Howell IV (center) helped bring his team to victory during the 2022 NWBA Toyota Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).

 

Howell scored a game-high 28 points and provided the offensive prowess with his leadership.

“I don’t care who scores. I don’t care if I get zero points. I just want to win the game.  And that’s what we pulled out and I just happened to score points,” says the 17-year-old Howell who has an undiagnosed condition but has scoliosis in his back and rods in his legs and hips.

Howell went 13-of-21 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range and added three rebounds and more than a handful of assists.

He did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 points and pulling down three rebounds.

Charlotte took control early. Trailing 6-4 with 15 minutes and 54 seconds left in the first half, the Rollin’ Hornets went on a 23-5 run. Howell scored nine points during it, while Landon Bennett added six and Kaden Bagley had four. That put them up 27-11 with 7:04 left in the half, and they stayed in front from there.

Bennett (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Adam Smith (11 points and 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles for the Rolllin’ Hornets, while Bagley finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Jack Binsfeld led the Rolling Timberwolves with 23 points and eight rebounds (though he went just 10-of-25 from the field and 2-of-10 from 3-point range), while Nick Deyo had nine points and five rebounds.

Charlotte defeated the No. 15 seed LWSRA Hawks, 64-41, in the first round, the No. 7 seed RHI Racers, 54-43, in the quarterfinals and the No. 6 seed Lakeshore Lakers, 59-38, in the semifinals. Courage Kenny defeated the No. 13 seed New York Rolling Fury, 72-30, in the first round, the No. 5 seed Kansas City Kings, 44-41, in the quarterfinals and the No. 1 seed BlazeSports Junior Hawks Red, 54-40, in the semifinals to advance.

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