Shepherd Stealers Finish Second in Wheelchair Basketball Championship Division
Shepherd Center’s wheelchair basketball team—the Shepherd Stealers—finished second in the Championship Division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association last weekend.
The win marks the best finish ever for the Shepherd Stealers in the highest level of competition in wheelchair basketball. Stealers athlete Paul Schulte was selected to the first team All Tournament Team and athlete Nick Ford was selected to the second team All Tournament Team.
The following is commentary provided by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association: Game #4 of the day brought us to the Championship Division Championship Game, the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Shepherd Stealers. Dallas won the tip, and within the first minutes, the score was 4-2, Shepherd. Yet a quick pass to #23 Bobbie Nickleberry under the basket tied up the game for Dallas.
Dallas utilized Nickleberry a large amount during the first half, helping the Mavericks along to a 20-14 lead with ten minutes left in the first half. Stealers’ #42 Jason Van Beek was fouled and went to the line, making one of his two shots, but Dallas answered right back from a quick 2-pointer from #1 Jason Nelms. A three-pointer from Nelms shortly after set the score at 27-21.
Although Dallas began to establish a fairly comfortable lead, Shepherd continued to fight back hard, with Van Beek making a shot under the basket, holding the Dallas lead at ten. Yet Dallas fought back relentlessly, leading the end of the first half with a score of 47-35, with help from a buzzer beater shot for three by Gonzales.
Shepherd seemed to be making a slow but steady comeback at the start of the second half, when Gonzales got a steal, allowing the momentum to shift back toward Dallas. Shortly after, #15 Rodney Hawkins helped the Mavericks along with two under the basket. Shepherd responded right back with a two pointer from #24 Nick Ford. By the time the 15 minute mark rolled around, Dallas was still holding a sturdy lead at 55-42.
Dallas had extended their lead to 16 points by the time the clock showed nine minutes. #44 Ablorh helped this lead along with another two points. #14 Paul Schulte followed up with four points for the Stealers, and his teammate, Ford, went to the line and made one of two shots. With just under three minutes, Shepherd had successfully reduced Dallas’ lead to 8, with 2:45 to play, but Shepherd never managed to fully close the gap. Dallas won over Shepherd, 85-74.
Game High Scorer: #31 David Gonzales, Dallas, 27 points
Shepherd High Scorer: #14 Paul Schulte, 22 points
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.