Wheelchair B-ball Tournament

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State University’s (SMSU) Wheelchair Basketball team finished the season with a 9-14 record. Despite that record and only having four seniors on its roster, SMSU had hoped to defy the odds and win the Wheelchair Basketball National Tournament Championship on March 17.

The 41 annual National Wheelchair Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament was held March 15-17 at SMSU. The tournament’s games were played at the Recreational/Athletic (RA) Facility and the Physical Education (PE) Gym. A total of 18 games were played over the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with 7 games each on Thursday and Friday and 4 games on Saturday.

A total of 9 teams participated in this year’s tournament. The seeds were as follows: 1 Alabama, 2 Texas-Arlington, 3 Wisconsin-Whitewater, 4 Missouri, 5 Edinboro, 6 SMSU, 7 Illinois, 8 Nebraska-Omaha and 9 Auburn. A complete bracket with the list of first round matchups and the format for the consolation rounds can be found at http://smsumustangs.com/documents/2018/3/1//2018NIWBTBracket.pdf.

The Mustangs have only 4 seniors on their team this season, and one is Ryan Kile. He realized that this was his last National Tournament as a Mustang, and he wanted to stay relaxed, comfortable and calm.

“The biggest key to success is composure, to take it one play at a time and never dwell on a bad play and just move forward,” Kile said.

Kile also saw his fellow teammates grow as a unit this season. “I have noticed that the freshmen have matured and are no longer playing timidly and are looking forward to doing what they can to help the team win,” he said. “I also notice that our team chemistry is a lot better now than it was when we first started playing together.”

Kile wanted the team to treasure the scene of playing in front of their fans.

The SMSU Mustangs took home sixth-place in the 2018 NIWBT on Friday, March 16. They first took on the third-seeded University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks, and SMSU was significantly smaller in physique than Whitewater. As a result, SMSU suffered a 95-64 loss. The loss dropped SMSU into the consolation bracket. Its next opponent was Illinois, and the Mustangs used strong defense to their advantage in a 61-55 victory. SMSU played for fifth-place against Edinboro but were defeated 62-47 due to shooting struggles.

SMSU finishes its season at 10-16.