Hoops Unite Basketball Tournament in Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, WA -Parasport Spokane held a wheelchair basketball tournament in the Tri-Cities for the first time.

Teams from Spokane, Cheney, Seattle and Portland traveled to compete at the tournament at Southridge High School.

One player, Jay Paulson, plays not only wheelchair basketball, but also for Southridge. He started playing fairly recently after he was approached at the court club.

He says, “I are up playing basketball but wheelchair basketball, I was at the court club and this guy came up to and told me about it. So I looked into it and I signed up.”

Jay says he loves the adrenaline rush when playing.

Just like Jay, David Evjan says wheelchair basketball is surprisingly competitive.

David Evjan played wheelchair basketball for five years at Southwest Minnesota State University. Once he graduated, he took a caching job at Eastern Washington University, where he helped create the first collegiate wheelchair basketball team in Eastern Washington.

He says the support and the communication with the athletic department have been great.

“The athletic director Lynn Hickey, has been super supportive of us. When she realized what we were actually trying to do, I was able to go into a meeting with her and her staff and explain what our goals were,” said David, “What it looked like to actually have a wheelchair basketball team on campus.”

He says many who play wheelchair basket in teams like this tournament, don’t get the recognition from colleges because of the lack of teams at the collegiate level.

He hopes this tournament shows the community that even if you’re able-bodied, wheelchair basketball is different. He started playing due to a knee injury.

Once he sat in the chair and got playing, he understood the competitive nature. Now he hopes more school begin offering programs like EWU.

Ben Dennison is new to wheelchair basketball. The freshman from Riverview High School says having this space is exciting.

His mom Sara Dennison says, “Being able to bring this to the Tri-Cities is huge for our community, for the kids. We know that there are kids out there in wheelchairs, or not, but who don’t play regular basketball.”

She hopes this tournament shows the community that anyone is capable of doing what they love.

Overall, their hope is that the community sees the need for more resources for people with disabilities.

For more information on opportunities, visit ParaSport Spokane’s website.

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Article Source: Fox 11