North Island champions roll into town
There’s a brand new basketball team in town and they have New Zealand domination in their sights.
The team won the North Island title recently and want to become the national champions.
Manager and forward Karl Hobman said the Mid West Sixers formed six months ago when new players moved into the region.
‘‘The local teams weren’t at the level we want to play at. We want to improve the grade.’’
The seven team members come from Wellington, Taranaki, Palmerston North and Kapiti.
‘‘Training together is a bit of a challenge but we manage ... we’ve played together before.’’
Hobman said the North Island competition was the perfect opportunity for the Sixers to show what they could do.
Teams from the North Island competed in round-robin games ending in a dramatic final at ASB Sports Centre in Wellington.
‘‘We were down 14 points going into the third quarter, but we really showed some heart and won by four points,’’ Hobman said
‘‘A lot of people would have given up, but the attitude of our team is to keep fighting.’’
Centre Reo Lewis was definitely the player of the day and scored the most points.
‘‘He’s an excellent player, he won’t say much, but he’s great.’’
With the national champs in October, Hobman said his team was focused on winning.
‘‘We know the statement we want to make. We want to win that one too.’’
Wheelchair basketball has been played as a Paralympic sport since 1960. with more than 80 countries officially taking part.
The sport retains the same rules as able-bodied basketball with travelling occurring when the athlete touches their wheels more than twice when in possession of the ball.
‘‘The goals are the same height, some people think we must use a child-sized one.’’
Players are assigned ‘points’ in relation to their disability with each team allowed 14 points.
‘‘I’m an amputee, so I’m a four pointer, whereas a paraplegic will be a one or two pointer.’’
The team planned to compete in Australia next year and Hobman said they would love to get some sponsors behind them.
‘‘There’s not a lot of recognition for [the sport]. It would be great to raise that profile.’’
Many of the players compete nationally and overseas.
Hobman, Fallon and Lewis were members of the Rollerblacks basketball team that competed in South Africa last year.
Hobman said it was no small feat for the wheelchair athletes with each person taking at least two wheelchairs with them.
Karl Hobman, Trevor Durry, Reo Lewis, Paul Fallon, Luke McDowall, Willah-Francesca Mawhinney and Slade O’rorke St John form Mid West Sixers basketball team