Variety Village Rolling Rebels Crowned Division 1 League Champions
Rebels close out near-perfect season with provincial league title
Over the weekend of February 22-23, the London Forest City Flyers welcomed the top wheelchair basketball teams from across Ontario to the FlightExec Centre in Dorchester for the Great Lakes Conference Division 1 (Competitive) League Championship.
The tournament included all four Division 1 teams – the Burlington Vipers, Cruisers Sports Rockets, London Forest City Flyers, and Variety Village Rolling Rebels – who have played each other throughout the season in a series of tournaments as part of the Great Lakes Conference provincial wheelchair basketball league. This was the first time the league held a championship tournament since the 2013-2014 season, prior to the league’s restructuring efforts made by the Ontario Para Network (named the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association at the time).
The tournament showcased the best wheelchair basketball club teams in Ontario and saw many exciting games throughout the weekend. Round robin games were played on Saturday and Sunday, with the championship game held on Sunday afternoon for the top two teams with the best cumulative results from the 2019-2020 season. At the top of the standings after regular season play sat the Variety Village Rolling Rebels with a 11-1 season record, followed by the London Flyers with a 7-5 record.
The championship game was expected to be closely-contested after the Flyers handed the Rebels their only loss of the season on Saturday during round robin play. The home-crowd favourites were looking for a repeat win and a championship title, while the Rebels sought redemption. Both teams traded baskets back-and-forth for much of the first half with the Rebels only leading 33-31 at the break. After a few costly turnovers from the Flyers in the 3rd quarter, the Rebels built an 8-point lead heading into the final stretch of the game and managed to outlast their opponents for a 62-57 win, claiming the GLC Division 1 title.
At the tournament’s conclusion, individual award winners for the season were announced. Awards included five All-Stars making up a 15.0 point line-up, a Most Valuable Player, and a Sportsmanship award. Recipients were selected by nomination from all participating teams in the league.
- Dave Jansen (4.5) – London Flyers
- Erik Robeznieks (4.5) – Cruisers Rockets
- Billy Langeveld (3.0) – London Flyers
- Tamara Steeves (1.5**) – Cruisers Rockets
- Christoph Trachsel (1.0*) – Variety Village Rolling Rebels
Anderson-Kutrowski Most Valuable Player Award: Jesse McNalley (Variety Village Rolling Rebels)
Keith Cartwright Sportsmanship Award: Andrea Foessel (Cruisers Rockets)
ONPARA would like to thank the London Forest City Flyers for hosting the event and providing all the hard-working volunteers and scorekeepers for the weekend. Best of luck to the club teams and individual athletes in their upcoming respective national-level championships in March and April!
Final standings for 2019-2020:
- Variety Village Rolling Rebels
- London Flyers
- Cruisers Rockets
- Burlington Vipers
About the Ontario Para Network
Formerly known as the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, our mission at the Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is to grow adaptive sport opportunities across Ontario. As the governing body for wheelchair sports in the province, we strive to offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in wheelchair athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis at recreational, competitive and high performance levels.