Berkeley Honors Their Very Best

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: February 13, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — Last weekend, 60 young people in wheelchairs invaded the floor of the Berkeley High School Gym in California .

These young people wanted to show the world that they could BALL too, for you older folk it means playing good basketball.

Berkeley ‘s own (BORP) Bay Area Outreach Recreational Program hosted the 2010 West Coast Conference Jr. Wheelchair Basketball Championship Tournament.

It was a tribute to the athleticism of these young men and women. BORP is a program for disabled athletes.

It provides assistance these talented individuals with adoptive hiking, horseback riding, sailing canoeing, water skiing, sled hockey, power soccer, snow skiing and of course wheelchair basketball.

BORP’s mission is to improve the health, independence, & social integration of people with physical disabilities through sport, fitness, and recreational programs.

Six teams qualified for the championship in two divisions the Prep Division are males and females up to the age of 12.

This is what we would call the JV of Wheelchair basketball.

The Varsity Division participants are 12 up to the age of 21 and still in high school.

Each athlete must be certified by the Assessment Committee.

The BORP Bay Cruisers (Berkeley), The Denver Rolling Nuggets, The Seattle Sonics, Team Saint Luke’s ( Spokane Wash. ), Rancho Wheelchair Sports Club (Los Ang. Area), and the Banner Wheelchair Suns ( Phoenix , Ariz. Area) battled all weekend for the West Coast title.

Most of the rules are the same as (NCAA) National Collegiate Athlete Association basketball rules.

However there is an exception they use wheelchairs.

All Players must follow the (NWBA) National Wheelchair Basketball Association Specifications

A player must bounce the ball after he/she pushes the wheel chair three times or traveling will be called.

Crashing a wheelchair into another player is not allowed. A foul will be when a player charges and trust me this happens a lot on the floor.

The full court press is dropped with a 20 point lead and the defense must fall back three feet from the mid court line.

Yes, they have the three-second rule and some wheelchairs get trapped in the lane. Players block the offensive player by joining two chairs together, can’t get around all of that steel and wheels, great defensive strategies

Each team has it’s their own style of play. Some use the run and gun looking for a lay-up like the L.A. Showtime Lakers.

Others use the slow down post up style, just like their able bodied counterparts, of the old Boston Celtics and teams run the pick and roll, like the 90’s Utah Jazz.

The best part is that men and women play together unlike their able bodied counterparts.

On Sunday afternoon about one half hour after the Super Bowl began, the crowned two champions for each division were crown.

In the Prep Division the St. Lukes Tornadoes defeated the BORP Bay Cruisers 23-19 in a tight defensive battle

In The Championship Division the Rancho Renegades from Los Angeles defeated the St. Lukes Cyclones 71-35. The Renegades took command early in this game.

New teams will be joining the West Coast Conference next year Anchorage, Alaska, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Portland, Oregon.

NOTE: For more information, contact BORP at Bay Area Outreach & Recreational Program, 600 Bancroft Way, Berkeley , California 94710 or you can call 510-849-4616.