Ontario 4th at 2018 Junior National Championship

Team Ontario narrowly misses podium to claim 4th place finish at Nationals

The best junior wheelchair basketball talent in Canada competed over the weekend at the 2018 Junior National Championship in Longueuil, Québec. The three-day tournament was co-hosted by Wheelchair Basketball Canada and Parasports Québec and acted as the seeding tournament for next year’s 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta. The event takes place every 4 years and is fully inclusive to male and female athletes, both with and without disabilities, aged 24 and under.

Among the competing teams was a strong Ontario contingent, featuring 12 athletes from various club teams across the province, 4 of which are training full-time as part of the WBC National Academy at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough.

In the Round Robin, a 4th seeded Ontario finished 2nd in Pool A with a 2-1 record, winning their games against New Brunswick (49-48) and Manitoba (43-32) while falling to 1st seed Québec (52-59) in their last game on Friday. The team’s performance allowed for a favourable Quarter Final match-up against British Columbia on Saturday morning where Ontario came out victorious with a score of 59-32.

In Semi Final action, Ontario battled hard, but ultimately lost 40-58 to eventual National Champions Alberta. Still striving for a place on the podium and looking to end the tournament on a high note, Ontario eagerly awaited its Sunday bronze medal game against defending champions Saskatchewan. The fast-paced and high intensity game saw Ontario and Saskatchewan exchanging baskets and quickly accumulating fouls throughout the first half. Saskatchewan led by just 4 points going into half-time. Only in the 3rd quarter did Ontario lose its momentum and struggle to regain scoring ability. Saskatchewan went on to win 69-51 and capture the bronze medal.

Notable performances throughout the tournament for Team Ontario came from veterans Eric Voss and Michael Kilonzo as well as newcomer Lee Melymick. Voss and Melymick were recognized as tournament All-Stars for the event.

Next, Team Ontario looks to the off-season to refine their skills and continue to work together in pursuit of the ultimate goal – a gold medal at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Training Camps will start back up again in June with final selections taking place in the fall. Canada Games are scheduled for February 15 – March 3, 2019. Go Ontario!

Roster Club Team
Sara Black (1.0*) Variety Village / National Academy
Vanessa Giancaterini (1.0*) Toronto Tornadoes / Burlington Vipers
Adel Akhmed (1.0) Variety Village
Lee Melymick (1.0) Variety Village / National Academy
Anthony Protomanni (2.0) Cruisers Suns
Joanne Lee (2.5*) Toronto Tornadoes / Burlington Vipers
Maninder Hothi (2.5) Cruisers Suns
Zoe Hahn (3.0*) Cruisers Suns
Eric Voss (3.0) National Academy
Michael Kilonzo (3.5) Cruisers Suns / National Academy
Nick Hill (4.5) Burlington Vipers
Erik Robeznieks (4.5)
Head Coach: Kathy Ludwig
Assistant Coach: Jesse McNalley
Team Manager: Rhiannon Davies

Final Results

1st – Alberta
2nd – Quebec
3rd – Saskatchewan
4th – Ontario
5th – British Columbia
6th – New Brunswick
7th – Manitoba
8th – Nova Scotia

MVP and All-Star Awards

MVP – Bradon Doll (AB)
All-Star – Garrett Ostepchuk (SK)
All-Star – Benjamin Palmer (QC)
All-Star – Eric Voss (ON)
All Star – Lee Melymick (ON)
All Star – Alex Hayward (NB)

For complete tournament results from the 2018 Junior National Championship please visit the Wheelchair Basketball Canada website.

For game footage from the event, visit the Parasports Québec facebook page.

About Parasports Québec
Parasports Québec is an organization dedicated to the promotion and development of parasports in Quebec. Its mission is to develop programs or projects that promote the development of people with physical limitations by promoting health and active living to stimulate their integration process. In addition, Parasports Québec promotes access to parasports at all levels of performance.

About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.