Wheelchair basketball hosts tournament, wins 1 of 4

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 6:24 PM
Wheelchair basketball hosts tournament, wins 1 of 4 by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Erica Burkholder

Edinboro University’s wheelchair basketball team finished out their home games with a tournament on Jan. 26 and 27.

The Fighting Scots’ first game against the University of Illinois was a close, nerve-racking contest. Edinboro opened the scoring with baskets by Kevin Atherly and Chayse Wolf before the Fighting Illini could get on the board. Illinois and Edinboro would trade baskets until halftime, with Illinois pulling ahead by 3 and finishing the half leading 21-18. 

Baskets by Will Speed and Alex Saylah put Edinboro up 22-21, but Illinois would regain their lead. Edinboro pulled to within 1 after a Saylah basket and a completed Atherly free throw with a little more than a minute left. Both Edinboro and Illinois would miss on their next possessions and Spencer Hossup would complete a layup to solidify Illinois’ win. 

Wolf scored 13 points and earned 5 assists in the effort, while Atherly scored 11 points with 4 assists, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. 

The Fighting Scots’ next game of the day would be just as close as the first. The Wisconsin Warhawks opened the scoring with two baskets before Boro could get on the board, and the Scots and Warhawks would trade baskets for a majority of the first half before Wisconsin pulled to a 26-19 lead at the break. 

The Warhawks once again opened scoring in the second half, but this time Edinboro would respond with a short run. Atherly left the game due to fouls, but the Scots would pull to within 2, bringing the score to 45-43 after an Ayuba Alli basket. Alli’s basket would be the last one for the Scots and the Warhawks would end the game leading 49-43.

Alli scored 19 points and earned 4 assists in the second game, while Wolf scored 10 points and earned 5 assists with 5 rebounds. Atherly scored 8 points with 7 rebounds and 4 steals before he exited the contest. 

Edinboro’s first game on Saturday was a rematch against the Fighting Illini. This time, the Fighting Scots would open the scoring with a 9-point run, holding the lead for the entire game. Boro finished the first half leading 23-14. 

Illinois would try to come back from their deficit, but the closest they got was within 6 points. A basket from Speed would be the last basket of the game, keeping the score at 49-40 with two minutes left to play. The victory over the Fighting Illini was the first in 10 years for the Fighting Scots. 

Speed scored 14 points and earned 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Atherly scored 13 points and had 7 rebounds, while Alli scored 12 points and earned 7 assists with 6 rebounds. 

Edinboro’s last game of the tournament was against the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers. The Cavs would lead 22-10 going into the second half. 

Edinboro would score first in the second half, and they would use a 16-2 run to cut their deficit to one possession halfway through the second half. Edinboro would tie the game after a basket by Speed, while a Saylah basket would give the Fighting Scots the lead after Wolf fouled out. The Cavs would outshoot the Scots, though, putting up more points in the last few minutes to win, 47-37. 

Speed scored 9 points, as did Atherly, who also had 9 rebounds. Wolf scored 8 points and earned 5 assists before exiting the game.

As this was the last home game of the season, the team honored their seniors, Bryson McLeod, Alli and former player Mike Adams. 

After the tournament, Head Wheelchair Basketball Coach Jim Glatch said he felt the team needed to work on “consistency, playing offense and defense at the same level,” but that he was happy to end the team’s 10-year drought against Illinois.

Erica Burkholder can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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