Wheelchair Basketball Nationals Day one report from Cathy Parker
The first day of the Wheelchair basketball nationals at Trusts Stadium in Auckland saw 10 teams competing over two divisions with five teams in the A division and 5 in the B division. Day one saw all teams play their pool games so each team had four games (these are full length 10 min quarter stop clock games).
A Division saw the defending champs, Auckland Wheelbreakers, dominate (4-0) with the closest challenge from the newly formed Te Puku o Te Whai Warriors (2-2), who fielded a number of previous New Zealand representative players.
Auckland won that match up 54-38 pulling away to a comfortable lead after a fairly tight first three quarters.
The final match of the day was Auckland Wheelbreakers Vs last years beaten finalists Waikato (3-1), with Auckland dominating the game 73-30. The other close contests for the day were Waikato Vs the Warriors with Waikato just edging ahead at the end for a 42-39 win and Waikato vs the 2nd new team at this years Nationals, Mid West (1-3).
Again Waikato just held the advantage 65-62.
The B Division games were generally much closer with Auckland Development, Te Raki Troopers – Northland and Waikato B all finishing (3-1).
Northland beat Waikato convincingly 40-19 to hold top honours after the pool games despite loosing to Auckland 30-36 – who in turn lost to Waikato 22-24 with a last second buzzer beater giving the honours to Waikato.
Taranaki (1-3) and Wheelington (0-4) rounded out B Division.
The semi finals of both divisions are Sunday morning from 9am.The B Division Final is at 1.00pm and the A Division at 2.45pm. Spectator entry is free.
Places after pool play
Place A Division B Division
1st Auckland Wheelbreakers Te Raki Troopers Northland
2nd Waikato A Auckland Development
3rd Te Puku Te Whai Warriors Waikato B
4th Mid West Taranaki
5th BOP Wheelington
The Nationals are a sanctioned BBNZ Nationals. Wheelchair basketball is played on standard basketball courts with standard height goals. Games are the same structure as stand up basketball – 10 minute stop clock quarters, 24 second shot clock, normal time outs, subbing etc.
The bulk of the rules are as for stand up basketball with some specific differences to cater for the the chairs in terms of obstruction and fouls, double dribbles are allowed (as some players need to carry the ball on their lap) and a travel is where a player pushes on the wheel more than twice without bouncing the ball.
Players are classified on a points system to ensure a mix of players can play, those with the highest level of disability have a 1 point classification through to players with minimal disability (or an able bodied player – yes they can play at any level under full international competition) having a 4.5 classification.
A team may only have five players totalling 14 points or less on the court ensuring the lower point players get fair court time. The lower point players (1-3) tend to be guards and the higher point players (3.5-4.5) forwards.