The 2016 Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament brought some of the nation’s top wheelchair basketball teams to Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn NY for two days of exciting games in October 2016.
The Brooklyn Nets captured the Division III Championship game after they defeated the Rochester Wheels by a score of 62-33. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the Division II Championship as they defeated the New England Blazers 52-29 in the final. The action started on Saturday with a full schedule of D2 and D3 preliminary-round games. The D2 bracket featured the Bulova Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and New England Blazers; while the D3 bracket included the Brooklyn Nets, Lakeshore Lightning and Rochester Wheels. At the end of Saturday’s games, the Cleveland Cavs captured the #1 seed in the D2 bracket, while the Brooklyn Nets claimed the #1 spot in the D3 bracket. Both #1 seeds earned byes into their respective championship games, while the stage was set for Sunday’s D2 and D3 semifinal games. The D3 semifinal featured the Rochester Wheels against the Lakeshore Lightning. The Lightning received a great effort from Tyler Tippins who finished with 19 points, but the Wheels were able to advance to the championship thanks to 28 points from Jamie Gilmore. The D2 semifinal was a great matchup between the Bulova Nets and New England Blazers. After a tightly played game, the Blazers were able to pull away and defeat the Nets by a score of 47-39. The D3 championship tipped off first with the Brooklyn Nets looking to finish the tournament undefeated as they faced the Rochester Wheels. The Wheels carried over the momentum from their semifinal win and jumped out to an early lead at the midway point of the first half. The Nets battled back to close the gap and ended up with a 26-24 lead going into halftime, thanks to a buzzer-beating shot from David Deas. The Nets came out of halftime with a lot of energy and extended their lead to 34-26. They continued to score almost at will and never looked back as they went on to win by a score of 62-33. JT Michalko did his best to keep Rochester in the game as he led the team with 11 points. The Nets’ win was truly a team effort as they had four players with more than 10 points: Champ Hallett (19), Errol Samuels (11), David Deas (10), Hector Marambio (10).
The D3 All-Tournament Team was announced after the game, and it featured Tyler Tippins from the Lakeshore Lightning, Jamie Gilmore from the Rochester Wheels and David Deas from the Brooklyn Nets. Champ Hallett of the Brooklyn Nets was named the Tournament MVP, as he scored 19 points in the championship game to help the Nets capture the title. The Cleveland Cavaliers looked to follow in the Brooklyn Nets’ footsteps and finish the tournament undefeated as they entered the D2 championship against the New England Blazers. The Cavs solidified their spot as one of the top teams in the country as they defeated the Blazers by a score of 52-29. Paul Zinn led the Cavs to victory with a game-high 17 points. William Barrero and Joe LeMar led the Blazers in scoring with 10 points and eight points, respectively. The Cavs also received strong performances from Darron Lewis (12 points), Vince Momosor (eight points) and Will Waller (nine points) in the championship game. Following the game, three players were named to the D2 All-Tournament Team: Steve Yedlock from the Bulova Nets, Joe LeMar from the New England Blazers and Paul Zinn from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Will Waller of the Cleveland Cavaliers took home MVP honors after having a great tournament.