The Lakeshore Storm defeated the Dallas Freewheelers 41-40 in overtime to win the Division III Championship in the Pioneer Classic Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at Lakeshore Foundation on Sunday. The Storm started strong and held the lead throughout the game although the Freewheelers trailed by only 2 points at halftime, 24-22. Lakeshore’s Chris Moore led the Storm with 15 points, Ford Buttram and Joon Reid added 8 points each.
The Storm could find itself ranked in the top 15 nationally by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. In its final two games, the Storm defeated the number seven and number sixteen teams. This is the team’s first Division III Championship at Pioneer since 2011.
In the Women’s Divison championship game, the University of Alabama defeated the University of Illinois by 21 points, 63-42.
In the Championship Division final, the Dallas Mavericks beat the University of Alabama men’s team 67-62 for the title. Alabama kept it close throughout a very physical contest, even pulling within one point with 8:03 left in the second half. But the Mavs would make some clutch shots, including a couple of foul shots in the final seconds for the 5-point victory. Dallas is ranked number one in the country in its division.
Congratulations to Lakeshore’s Joon Reid for winning the Division III, Jo Fowler MVP Award and to Lakeshore’s Kimmie Champion for winning the Larry Brown Sportsmanship Award. Lakeshore’s Ford Buttram won the Best Class 1 Award.
In the women’s division, Alabama’s Annika Zeyen won Best Class 1 and Cindy Ouellet won MVP. Gail Gaeng of Illinois won the Sportsmanship Award.
Lakeshore Storm coach Lisa Hilbornsaid, "I've seen nothing but improvement all the way through; "I'm extremely proud of them because they're learning to play as a team. Their basketball IQ is going through the roof."
Local News Coverage of the Pioneer Classic can be found by following the links provided below:
Lakeshore Storm Wins Division III Title: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/01/lakeshore_storm_wins_division.html
Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks repeat as Champions Division winners: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/01/dallas_wheelchair_mavericks_re.html
Tide women make it look easy in claiming Pioneer Classic wheechair basketball tourney title: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/01/tide_women_make_it_look_easy_i.html