On Thursday, April 9, Assumption’s men and women’s basketball team had a double-header home game against the New England Trailblazers. This was not your ordinary Division II colligate game; it was a wheelchair against handicap club team of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. The game was split into two halves, the women’s team played the first half and the men played the second half. Completely different kind of game then what the young colligate athletes are used to.
The Assumption Greyhounds could not use their height, foot speed or jumping ability that they need in a regular game of basketball, but the Greyhounds were up to the challenge. The women’s team started off the game just trying to figure out how to play the game in a wheelchair. Their movements were slow but methods were finding some success.
Kelly Carey, Shayla Hubbard, Teneya McLaughlin were able to find a way to score. The Defensive side was a different story; the Trailblazers were almost scoring at will. They ran plays, set screen, and even guarded the women full court. Near the end of the half the women began to get the hang of the game but it was too late. The Trailblazers won the first game comfortably. Player/Asstistant Coach was playing around with the women; he would roll around the court toying with the ball, not even looking to score.
“We are used to playing basketball one way, so it was really interesting to experience the same game with a completely different style and set of rules,” said Ann Marie Idusuyi. “It also made us appreciate our ability to play in college.”
In the second had the men’s basketball team got their chance to take a crack at the New England Trailblazers. The Trailblazers were kind enough to give the men’s team a five point to start the game. Just like the women, the men’s team had a slow start to the game. They could not figure out how play both offense and defense. Some of the men’s players would just sit on one side of the floor waiting for the ball to come to them.
“It is so much harder than it look, my arms were on fire the whole game, I even got a burn on my finger,” said Darren Chew of the men’s basketball team. “Its all upper body, I’m so used to using my legs.”
“When you make a pass it has to right on point or the player will not be able to catch the ball because they cant move laterally or jump,” said Marcus Murray.
Half way through the half the men’s, team finally figured out the game, with the assistance of an extra player. The men’s team played six players one the court in the last couple minutes. This gave the boost they needed to make a run at the end with a couple of three point shots by Riley Reid and Marcus Murray. Their efforts at the end were not enough to beat the Trailblazers.
“I was surprised they could shoot three’s, usually nobody has the upper body strength to even get close,” said guard, Chris Johnson of the New England Trailblazers.
Even though Greyhounds were not about to beat the Trailblazers, they gained a great experience; many of the players never played wheelchair basketball before. Both teams gained respect for the handicap sport and had fun. Even the audience members enjoyed as they giggled at the Greyhounds struggle to move around in the wheelchairs.