Wheelchair Suns lose in title game

The Arizona Republic
April 09, 2002

The Banner Wheelchair Suns lost 72-50 to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks in the championship game of the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (Division II).

The Suns had made it to two consecutive Final Fours. They lost in the semifinals a year ago. This year's event was held at the University of Illinois.

"When I think back and look at the season, we came a long way," said coach Gary Venjohn, whose team finished 26-11. "The quality of play has increased tremendously over the years, and we are building a pretty good program right now. . . . Things are tougher all the time, but we're getting a little better every year."

Jim Miller, who led the Suns in the final game with 16 points and 13 rebounds, was named to the all-tournament team. In addition, Miller, Dave Englert and Javier Gonzales made the all-regional tournament team.

In the title game, Venjohn said the Suns lost to a faster team, and also a much younger one.

"We played 18- to 20-year-old kids who are on full-ride scholarships and practice five to seven days a week," he said. "We'll take whoever we have to play, but we were at an extreme disadvantage."

Venjohn organized the wheelchair Suns in 1987.