GCU intramural basketball teams to compete for national title

April 19, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The Grand Canyon University men’s and women’s intramural basketball teams will compete for their respective national championships this weekend, which created quite a conflict for three seniors — Friday is spring commencement for traditional students.

So that’s why Bikonzi Moise, Christopher Beverly and Kaira Chase might seem in a hurry to get their diplomas. Soon after they walk off the stage, they’re going to head straight to the airport and the flights that were arranged for them to the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) tournament at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

The GCU men's intramural basketball team after it won its second consecutive regional title.

The GCU men’s intramural basketball team after it won its second consecutive regional title.

“We thought it was important to do that,” said Matt Lamb, GCU’s intramural sports manager.

Both GCU representatives qualified by winning the Capital City Shootout, a regional championship last month at Sacramento State University. It was the second consecutive regional title for the men, and the women’s first championship was made even sweeter by the fact that they defeated perennial champion USC in the final. The men were victorious against the host team, Sacramento State.

The NIRSA competition, Lamb said, “is a great opportunity to network with students from other universities.” Not only are all the competitors regular college students who don’t play varsity sports; even the officials are students and have to apply for their positions.

There are 12 players on each team’s roster, which in the case of GCU is a conglomeration of the best intramural players chosen at tryouts before the regional tournament.

The men are coached by Lamb, a born-and-bred Hoosier who, like famed Indiana University coach Bobby Knight, believes in tough man-to-man defense.

The GCU women's intramural team defeated USC in the regional final.

The GCU women’s intramural team defeated USC in the regional final.

“The kids we have are pretty good athletes,” Lamb said. “We just try to play fast — hard and fast.”

The men’s team is led by Juwan Washington, voted Most Valuable Player of the west regional the last two years. It is in a division that includes teams from Georgia Tech University, Temple University, the Air Force Academy and the University of Central Florida.

The women’s team, led by west regional MVP Kelsie Sanborn, is coached by three students — Zach Rohrer, Tyler Villers and Taylor Winston. Among the teams in its division are Central Florida and the University of Oregon.

The tournament goes from Friday to Sunday in Ohio State’s campus recreation center. The format is two games of round-robin play and then single elimination.

Last year, the GCU men lost in the single-elimination portion of the tournament.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or rick.vacek@gcu.edu.

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