Sharks, Road Warriors Advance To NWBA Adult Division I Semifinals
Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks wheelchair basketball player Carlos Martinez can’t wait to get his shot to try to take down the top-seeded Golden State Road Warriors and their three high-profile U.S. Paralympians.
He’s played against the trio of Matt Scott, Brian Bell and Jorge Sanchez internationally and as a Puerto Rico’s men’s wheelchair basketball team member.
Now, after the No. 4 Sharks knocked off No. 5 seed Dallas, 73-60, and Road Warriors blitzed the No. 8 seed NMSCD Wolf Pack, 63-39, during Friday’s National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Adult Division I championship tournament quarterfinals at Wichita Hoops in Bel Aire, Kan., they’ll meet in one of Saturday afternoon’s semifinals, while the other pits the No. 2 seed New York Knicks and No. 3 seed Medstar NRH Punishers.
He’s so hungry for it.
“We got a tough game, but what we’ve got to do is not let the three big guys score,” said Martinez, whose team also defeated the No. 13 seed Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 67-34 in a first-round game. “We got to go and let the other two guys win the game. That’s our strategy to go and win the game.”
Early on, it didn’t look like the Sharks would have that chance. Dallas took a 13-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the quarterfinal game and Memorial Rehabilitation looked like it could be sunk. But a lineup change and a more focused defensive effort, especially with their press, helped them turn up the heat and give them a 36-31 advantage by halftime.
“But when we move people from the bench, we go up,” said Martinez, a 37-year-old Miami, Fla, resident who sustained a L1-L2 injury from a gunshot wound in 2011. “That’s the strategy that we have.”
Meanwhile, the No. 1 seeded Road Warriors received a bye and had little trouble with the Wolf Pack, taking a 33-21 halftime lead and motoring on from there. The Warriors have a new look this year after and Bell and Sanchez, who’s from Oakland, Calif., originally, decided to join forces with Scott, who was in California. All three work for Visa.
“It’s awesome. Yeah, we’re very fortunate that we were able to come together as a team. We just kind of lucked out that we all kind of got the same job at the same company, a little bit so that helped that we’re all in the same area,” Bell said.
Dallas Hangs On In Opener
Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks basketball player Blake McMinn was so zoned in on the first of his late-game free throws he didn’t even hear the game-ending buzzer blaring on the court right next to him.
Neither loud noise, nor the added pressure of game-sealing free throws, fazed him one bit.
With seven seconds remaining and his team leading by two, McMinn calmly rimmed in his first free throw — and then after a Seattle timeout — swished the second to lift No. 5 seed Dallas to a 54-50 first-round NWBA Adult Division I tournament victory over the No. 12-seeded Sonics.
All that end-of-practice free-throw shooting helps — and led to their escape.
McMinn says the team works on free-throw shooting at the end of every practice. He shoots between 30-50 free throws each time and says repetition, especially when tired, is key. For him, it’s about muscle memory and routine.
“So, I just take a deep breath, I spin the ball a little bit and I exhale,” McMinn says. “I just kind of feel it to get it on my hand the way I like it.”
The win helped Dallas advance to the quarterfinals, where it played and fell to the No. 4 seed Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks.
An Army veteran, McMinn sustained injuries to his right leg in 2007 after the tank he was in ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq.
Dallas was missing a few players, including Bobbie Nickleberry (family issue), but McMinn thought the team still came together.
“We played as a team, like that’s the biggest thing that we took away from that game is the team ball that we played,” McMinn said. “We messed some stuff up and then we corrected it.”
Division III Upsets
Two double-digit seeded Division III teams rolled to first-round upset wins Friday morning — as the No. 12 seed Cap City Cardinals cruised to a 49-25 victory over the No. 5 seed Houston Rolling Rockets and the No. 11 seed Lakeshore Storm knocked off the No. 6 seed Harrisonburg Cardinals, 69-55. Both lost their quarterfinal games, but the No. 8 seed LWSRA Hawks recorded an upset to advance to the semifinals.
After beating the No. 9 seed Coastal Chairmen, 56-37, in the first round, the Hawks upended the No. 1 seed Tucson Lobos, 50-43, in the quarterfinals.
For more, see results below.
National Wheelchair Basketball Association Adult Championships Day 1
No. 8 NMCSD Wolf Pack 59, No. 9 Courage Kenny Rolling Timberwolves 50
No. 4 Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks 67, No. 13 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 34
No. 5 Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks 54, No. 12 Seattle Sonics 50
No. 6 Rancho Halos 61, No. 11 WWAR Generals 50
No. 3 MedStar NRH Punishers 65, No. 11 FEBASIRU Puerto Rico 35
No. 7 Utah Wheelin’ Jazz 65, No. 10 Mary Free Bed Pacers 54
No. 1 Golden State Road Warriors 65, No. 6 NMCSD Wolf Pack 39
No. 4 Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks 73, No. 5 Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks 60
No. 3 MedStar NRH Punishers 56, No. 6 Rancho Halos 39
No. 2 New York Rollin’ Knicks 71, No. 7 Utah Wheelin’ Jazz 39
No. 12 Seattle Sonics 51, No. 13 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 49
No. 11 WWAR Generals 59, No. 14 FEBASIRU Puerto Rico 35
No. 1 Detroit Wheelchair Pistons 66, No. 16 ParaSport Spokane 50
No. 9 Ability360 Wheelchair Suns 63, No. 8 OKC Wheels of Thunder 59
No. 4 Chicago Hornets 63, No. 13 Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks 33
No. 5 Austin Rec’ers 55, No. 12 Shepherd Stealers 34
No. 11 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 50, No. 6 Kansas City Kings 58
No. 3 LA Clippers 66, No. 14 SportAble Rimriders 39
No. 7 Denver Rolling Nuggets 60, No. 10 Magee Spokesmen 44
No. 2 LA Hotwheels 64, No. 15 Southeastern Rolling Rebels 36
No. 1 Detroit Wheelchair Pistons 53, No. 9 Ability360 Wheelchair Suns 50
No. 4 Chicago Hornets 71, No. 5 Austin Rec’ers 39
No. 3 LA Clippers 48, No. 11 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 24
No. 2 LA Hotwheels 67, No. 7 Denver Rolling Nuggets 43
No. 8 OKC Wheels of Thunder 49, No. 16 ParaSport Spokane 42
No. 12 Shepherd Stealers 46, No. 13 Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks 36
No. 6 Kansas City Kings 55, No. 14 Sportable Rim Riders 40
No. 10 Magee Spokesmen 63, No. 15 Southeastern Rolling Rebels 41
No. 1 Tucson Lobos 65, No. 16 Corpus Christi Rimz 31
No. 8 LWSRA Hawks 56, No. 9 Coastal Chairmen 37
No. 4 Orlando Magic Wheels 51, No. 13 Team St. Luke’s 31
No. 12 Cap City Cardinals 49, No. 5 Houston Rolling Rockets 25
No. 11 Lakeshore Storm 69, No. 6 Harrisonburg Cardinals 55
No. 3 Shepherd Stealers 65, No. 14 Tulsa Twisters 42
No. 10 Tampa Bay Strong Dogs 49, No. 7 Arkansas Rollin’ Razorbacks 31
No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelwheelers 43, No. 15 Austin Rec’ers 30
No. 8 LWSRA Hawks 50, No. 1 Tucson Lobos 43
No. 4 Orlando Magic Wheels 48, No. 12 Cap City Cardinals 36
No. 3 Shepherd Stealers 46, No. 11 Lakeshore Storm 35
No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelwheelers 52, No. 10 Tampa Bay Strong Dogs 38
No. 9 Coastal Chairmen 63, No. 16 Corpus Christi Rimz 36
No. 5 Houston Rollin’ Rockets 56, No. 13 Team St. Luke’s 47
No. 14 Tulsa Twisters 48, No. 6 Harrisonburg Cardinals 47
No. 7 Arkansas Rollin’ Razorbacks 70, No. 15 Austin Rec’ers 31