Charlotte Rollin' Hornets Junior and Adult Teams Finish 5th in the Nation
Two of Charlotte's Rollin' Hornets wheelchair basketball teams captured fifth-place finishes at the 68th Annual NWBA National Championship Tournament held in Louisville, KY from April 7-10. The 2016 NWBT was the largest ever with 88 teams and 976 athletes covering five adult and junior divisions playing a total of 176 games.
The Rollin' Hornets sent three teams to the tournament, including junior Prep and Varsity Division squads and the twice-national champion adult D3 team.
With a 38-36 overtime win over the Oklahoma Blaze, the Charlotte Junior Rollin' Hornets to add a top-five finish to the national title they won in 2009 which was preceded by 2nd and 3rd place trophies.
It took a dramatic comeback from nine points down, capped by a steal and breakaway layup by Josh Hipps with eight seconds left, to force the game into overtime. There was no stopping the Rollin' Hornets then as Andre DeWitt, who had 22 points in the game, hit the winning basket in overtime.
Preston Howell IV, who was named to the All-Tournament First Team, added 14 points.
A close 34-31 loss to the #3 seeded Milwaukee Jr. Bucks in the previous game kept the #6 seeded Rollin' Hornets from making the semifinal. In a relentless defensive effort, the Rollin' Hornets swarmed the Bucks forcing three turnovers in the final minute of the game but were unable to score the needed points.
The Prep team went 3-1 for the tournament, defeating Katie's Komets (Philadelphia, PA) 32-22 in the first round and the Fairfax (VA) Falcons 30-24 in the third round.
The older junior team finished 16th in the Varsity NIT bracket while the adult D3 team made a strong push for a third national title.
Five Jr. Rollin' Hornets were recognized for their academic achievements. Varsity team member Lizzy Becker was named to the Honorable Mention Academic All-American Team for players in the 10th-12th grades.
Four athletes, the most of any program in the country, were named to the Academic Achievers Team for students in grades 5-9 including Varsity players LJ Yates and Austin Smith, and Prep players Preston Howell IV and Josh Hipps.
After victories over the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs (50-39) and the Nassau (NY) Kings (51-48), the 6th seeded Rollin' Hornets D3 team fell (54-46) to the top seeded and eventual national champions TIRR Hotwheels of Houston, TX. Still with a chance in the double elimination format, the Rollin' Hornets went basket for basket with the LA Hotwheels before losing 57-49. They close the season as the nation's #5 team.
Rollin' Hornets Headed to NWBA National Championships - 4/5/16
April 5, 2016 - There's more than one Charlotte Hornets team headed to the playoffs this season. Three Charlotte Rollin' Hornets teams are headed to Louisville, KY this week for the 68th Annual NWBA National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.
One of the Rollin' Hornets two adult teams and both junior teams – Prep and Varsity - qualified for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association's national championship tournament at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
The Rollin' Hornets have three national titles. The Varsity team (then called JV) was National Champions in 2009 after finishing second in 2008. The Adult team was National Champions in 1996 and 1998.
The Prep team is seeded sixth this year after finishing second to defending national champions, Atlanta, while the Varsity team is seeded 13th in the tournament's NIT bracket after a fourth-place conference finish.
The Rollin' Hornets adult team goes into the nationals as the No. 5 seed and champions of the Carolinas Conference Tournament with an overall record of 27-4. Former Hornets Heroes Gala honoree and NWBA Hall of Famer David Kiley was the tournament MVP.
Kiley, who coaches the JV team and was head coach for the USA National Women's Team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has announced that this will be his last season as a player.
Also competing in adult division are the 7th-seeded Carolina TarWheels, who were national champions in 2014.
Rollin' Hornets Headed to NWBA National Championships