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LOUISVILLE, KY–The 11th-ranked Charlottesville Cardinals wheelchair basketball team quest for a national championship derailed quickly today in the opening rounds of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s 67th national championship tournament in Louisville, Kentucky as the team sustained two costly losses–first to the 6th-ranked Atlanta Shepherd Stealers and then to the 14th-ranked San Diego Wolfpack.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the team entered competition this morning minus several key players who were unable to make the trek to Louisville at the last minute.
“Life has an inconvenient way of intervening with our plans sometimes,” said player-coach Tom Vandever, “and then basketball has to take a back seat to more important issues. We miss our team mates and wish them the best, and are eager to have them back with us as soon as possible.”
In the opening game of the tournament Charlottesville tangled with the Atlanta Shepherd Stealers and quickly found themselves in a deep hole, 41-14, at the half. The Cardinals’ offense finally kicked in by the second half, but it was too little, too late as they bowed to the Shepherd squad, 77-44. The Cardinals’ Tom Vandever led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Brandon Rush with 8, Chris Robinson and Jacob Tyree with 5 each, and Eddie Wimbish with 4 points. Shepherd scorers were led by Gavin Cloy who tallied 20 points.
In the afternoon tilt against the San Diego Wolfpack the Cardinals managed a narrow 21-20 edge at the break, but the relentless Wolfpack press quickly broke the game wide open in the opening minutes of the second half as San Diego went on an 18-2 run to claim a 38-23 advantage with ten minutes left to play. Charlottesville never managed to recover and fell to San Diego, 60-33. Brandon Rush and Tom Vandever had 10 points each for the Cardinals, while Chris Robinson contributed 6, Jacob Tyree had 3, and Eddie Wimbish and Joey Leavitt had 2 each.
The Cardinals will face the Birmingham Lakeshore Storm on Friday afternoon as the tournament continues.
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About the Cardinals
The Charlottesville Cardinals are a nationally ranked wheelchair basketball team based in Charlottesville, VA. The team was formed in 1980 to provide athletes with disabilities an opportunity for exercise and competitive recreation as well as to educate the general public concerning the capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Since its formation, over 375 area athletes with disabilities have participated with the Cardinals and they have performed in front of over 75,000 people across the U.S. and Canada.
Please browse the website to learn more about us. For a current roster and team statistics, visit the team page. To see the Cardinals in action, see our media page or look at the event schedule and see us in person. If you have any questions or would like to schedule the Cardinals for a demonstration, please contact our team coordinator via the contact page. Thanks for visiting!