Phi Psi wheels their way to IM championship

Danny Rice, Sports Contributor

Fast start, tough defense key to victory in wheel chair basketball victory

The Phi Psi Iron Chariots defeated Sigma Chi 28-27 on Sunday to claim the intramural wheelchair basketball championship.

Phi Psi (6-1) saved one of their best games for last as they upset their undefeated opponent, Sigma Chi. Sigma Chi (6-1) was 6-0 heading into the championship and had been averaging 31.8 points per game – only one other team all year scored more than 30 points. Sigma Chi’s closest games all year were 18-point victories in the regular season and in the playoffs.

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Junior Sierra Domingo of Phi Psi, who scored 10 points, said their goal all season was to be in the championship and have a shot at winning the t-shirt handed out to the champions.

“In the preseason, we wanted to be in this game,” Domingo said. “We talked about it a lot, practiced hard, really got to know our chairs and it helped us in the end.”

Phi Psi jumped out to an early 10-4 lead, thanks to an 8-0 run. The first half would go back and forth with the Iron Chariots leading 14-10 at half.

Sigma Chi would enjoy a 10-4 run of their own to start the second half to take their first lead of the game at 20-18 at the 7:45 mark.

Two big moments in the game came with four and two minutes left in the game when Sigma Chi had two of their players foul out, and with only five players on their roster, they were forced to play with three players against Phi Psi’s four players the remaining two minutes.

Domingo said once it became four-on-three, it was easier for his side.

“They were a little fatigued after playing a game before and playing against three players was a little easier and it gave us the advantage,” he said.

After a free throw made by Sigma Chi to take a 27-26 lead with 45 seconds remaining, fifth-year senior Kevin Paternostro was confident his team wouldn’t back down.

“We’ve had some pretty close games all season,” Paternostro said. “So the pressure really didn’t get to us. We felt confident and had to get the ball to our playmakers.”

Phi Psi would get the ball to one of their playmakers in sophomore Austen Stevens, who led all scorers with 16 points. Stevens put his team up 28-27 with 10 seconds left and with Sigma Chi missing their shot as time expired, it was the Phi Psi Iron Chariots taking home the championship and the heralded t-shirts.

In addition to Domingo, Paternostro and Stevens was senior Ryan Spink who added two points.

After losing their first game of the season, Phi Psi would reel off six straight wins – saving their best performance for last. 

“It was a long, hard season, “ Stevens said. “But we finally came together at the end.” 

On Twitter @DRice1730