The Kelly Griffin Women's Wheelchair Basketball Challenge

On Saturday 27th May an inaugural event occurred – The Kelly Griffin Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Challenge.

It was a day filled with remembrance, hard work, learning and laughter. Following 2 previous women’s only training sessions, 13 women came to the Trusts Arena for an action-packed day. The group varied in age, impairment, and experience level but shared the common goal of wanting to play wheelchair basketball. Throughout the morning, coaches Dave and Brendon shared their wisdom to educate the girls on many different skills and tactics that would come to help them in the 3x3 tournament that followed.

After the players had re-fuelled at lunch, it was time to remember and honour Kelly Griffin. Kelly was an incredible player and from the speeches given, it was clear that she was an even better person and one that will be dearly missed. Kelly’s parents very kindly donated a trophy to the event – The Kelly Ann Griffin Spirit of the Game Award. It was to be given to a player who demonstrated similar characteristics to Kelly’s – determination, skill, humour, sportsmanship and support.

With Kelly in everyone’s hearts, it was time to take that passion and determination to the court in the 3x3 tournament. Each team fought valiantly with matches being close each time. However, with any good tournament there can only be one winner and on this occasion, that went to the blue team consisting of Daisy Eaglesome, Justine Hunter and Emma Conaglen. Second place was the red team (Cathy Parker, Kaeti Rigarlsford and Grace Lee), white team took third place (Faithleen Tou, Maia Lewis, Jewel Byles and Emma Cooper-Williams) whilst the navy team came in a respectable fourth (Catarina Owen, Daniella Egle-Bast and Lizzie Edgecombe).

But it wasn’t over yet! Singlets were changed and new teams were formed for the 5x5 finale. Despite the previous 6 hours of exercise, everyone continued to push to the closing whistle and played some excellent wheelchair basketball demonstrating what strong players these ladies are when given the chance to shine.

The day was wrapped up with an awards ceremony where the winning 3x3 team won a 3-month subscription to Real Health NZ, and Daisy Eaglesome was awarded the Kelly Griffin Spirit of the Game Award. Cathy, Justine and Daniella were all runners up and received a pair of stripy socks in Kelly’s honour.

None of the day would’ve been possible without the hard-work of all the volunteers involved:

  • Event organisers – Diane Eaglesome, Cathy Parker and Daniella Egle-Bast

  • Coaches – Dave Sheriff and Brendon Stratton

  • Officials – Mark Sullivan, Mike Hall, Ric Gozon and Mii Pepe

  • Score Bench – Jaden Movold, Daniel Goulton, Denise Owen

  • Photographer – Lise Baldwin

Throughout the day there was heaps of positive energy and a brilliant atmosphere radiating from all involved, and with the Kelly Griffin Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Challenge planned to return for 2018, you can be a part of that next year too.

Check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page: Parafed Auckland - Disability Sport