RICHMOND YOUTH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL TEAM CLINCHES #1 SEED IN NWBA NIT TOURNAMENT
RICHMOND, VA (March 31, 2016) Sportable Spokes are rolling to Louisville, with the goal of claiming a National Title.
From their remarkable start in October, the Spokes’ arduous and emotional season will come to an end April 6-10 at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) National Tournament.
The team started the season out strong winning their first three games in Fairfax, highlighting the potential of the Spokes and the future of their season. After an emotional loss in the championship game in Fairfax, the spokes were as determined as ever traveling to Baltimore in December. They successfully took the Baltimore Tournament title, leaving their overall standing as 2nd place in the Weekly National Wheelchair Basketball Association Rankings.
The Spokes travelled to Philadelphia for their final tournament before Nationals. Here, the Spokes went 2-1 in regular tournament play, making them the second seed in the tournament. The Spokes knocked off #1 in the Northeast Conference, Brooklyn Nets in the championship game, winning 48-29. This tournament showcased just how ready they are to take to the national stage. They will enter the tournament with an overall record of 16-4.
Cole Sydnor is one of the head coaches for the Spokes. He stepped into the role last year and has been with the team ever since. He commented, “This past season I’ve been extremely pleased with how the team has progressed from a team that relies heavily on raw talent, to a team that plays smart basketball and wins games as a unit.”
To put things in perspective, this is only the second year that the Spokes have been invited to the big dance. Out of the 50 junior division teams in the USA, 32 are invited. Sixteen of those teams play in the championship bracket, and sixteen play in the NIT. Last year the Spokes made it in as the 32nd team to be invited. Now, just in their second year, they will go into Louisville as the #1 seed of the NIT bracket with their first game being Thursday, April 7th at 2:00 PM.
Marielle Rando, the program manager for the Spokes stated, “we are all so proud of everything this team has accomplished. It is so exciting to see them all grow as players. We decided at the beginning of this season to hold each of them to very high standards. Not only did they meet each of those standards, they went above and beyond and it has paid off tremendously. ”
A few players to watch in this tournament will be the team’s two seniors, Colin Egan (Hermitage ’16) and Edward Miller (Armstrong’16) and Ignacio LaFuente Ortega from Madrid, Spain.
“We are incredibly proud of everything this team has accomplished together this season,” commented Sportable Executive Director, Hunter Leemon. “This achievement is a testament to the hard work that Coach Sydnor, Coach Rush, and all our players have put forth this season and over their careers. We are confident that the Spokes will go to Louisville and represent Sportable well by competing hard and showing great sportsmanship. They will make us and the entire state of Virginia proud.”