Wheelchair basketball splits home tournament

Category:  Sports
Thursday, February 28th, 2019 at 9:25 AM
Wheelchair basketball splits home tournament by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Erica Burkholder

Edinboro’s wheelchair basketball team hosted the Boro Intercollegiate Tournament over the weekend. The team went 2-2 over the two days. 

The Fighting Scots opened the tournament on Friday against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While Wisconsin got the first basket of the game, the Scots led until about eight minutes into the first. While ‘Boro led by two, Dylan Fishbach started putting up 3-pointers. He would sink 12 shots from behind the arc before the half ended, 49-28 with ‘Boro trailing. 

While Edinboro started the scoring in the second, they chased a deficit that started at 21 points and through the course of the game would grow to 25. But, before the game ended, they would bring it down to eight. Seamus McNally put up two 3-point shots that would bring Edinboro to 10 behind with about a minute left. Kevin Atherley converted both of his free throw attempts after being fouled to bring ‘Boro within eight, but that was the last time the Scots would score in the game. Whitewater put up a couple more points to end the victory at 78-66. 

“Against Whitewater...a kid had 45 points, nothing you can do about it,” said McNally after the tournament was over. 

Chayse Wolf scored 16 points in the game against Wisconsin, which would put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. Wolf joins Atherley in reaching that milestone. 

The Scots played the University of Auburn next. ‘Boro opened the scoring and there was a pretty even exchange of baskets, though Auburn held the lead for most of the first. Two baskets from Atherly and Jacob Spillers would tie the game with a little over a minute left in the first. The half ended 22-22.

Auburn might have started the scoring in the second, but ‘Boro jumped out to a lead when five minutes in they went on a run. The Scots continued to dominate the scoring, ending the game 58-47. 

“Yesterday night we played Auburn,” McNally recalled on Saturday. “We’ve already lost twice to them, [but today] we got a good win against them, so it’s good.”

‘Boro led their third game until about halfway through the first, when Missouri went on a 13-point run.

The two teams then exchanged baskets, ending the half at 32-23 with ‘Boro trailing. 

The deficit wouldn’t be any lower than 11 points following Mizzou’s first basket in the second half, but the Scots kept fighting with McNally, Wolf, Atherley and Cor’Rales Dupree adding 24 points in the half to end the loss, 63-47. 

The Fighting Scots ended the tournament against the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois. The game was moved up to 2:15 p.m. from the originally scheduled 4 p.m., as impending weather had caused the early departure of Wisconsin and Missouri, but the time change did little to deter the number of fans in the Crawford gym. The game quickly became loud as it started with both teams leading chants for their squads. 

Edinboro opened the scoring as Atherley was fouled 15 seconds into the game and converted both free throws. The two teams remained close in score for most of the first, though ‘Boro started to add to their lead with less than eight minutes to go. Baskets from Jacob Spillers and Wolf brought ‘Boro’s lead to 10, though the Illini responded with two quick points of their own. 

Spillers added another, less than a minute later, and Edinboro went on a run to give them the lead at the end of the half, 40-19. 

The second half had an even exchange of baskets for a majority of the time, though Illinois started a push toward the end of the game that had the crowd on the edge of their seats. With less than two minutes left, the Fighting Illini had brought the game to within five, and the noise in the gym increased as the game was brought even closer (a two-point margin at one point).

Atherley scored a basket and then converted a free throw to give the Fighting Scots a five-point lead again. Wolf added another two points when he converted both of his free throws with seven seconds left. The Scots won the game 58-51. 

“We went two-and-two. We wanted to do a little bit better,” McNally said. 

McNally was honored during the halftime of the last game as it was his last home tournament. “It’s bittersweet. It feels like yesterday I was 18, you know, a freshman. But now it’s all over. We got two more tournaments but no more here, so it’s good hanging on in a way.”

Edinboro’s record is now 15-13. Their home record is 9-2.

The Scots return to action Saturday and Sunday when they compete in the Canadian Academy Tournament.

Erica Burkholder | @edinboronow

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