UPDATE 10/27/20 Wheelchair Basketball to Move Forward With Season


Cirina Matos

Head Coach Tom Linder addresses the team prior to a regular season game against Wooster High School last season.

Cory Michalec, Staff Writer

Story updated 10/27/2020

Director of Adaptive Sports of Ohio, Lisa Followay has released a tentative schedule for the upcoming 2020-21 season of high school wheelchair basketball.  The schedule is contingent on the current COVID-19 situation and the status of all schools involved.

The regular season will begin in January and run through the end of February with the postseason tournament to follow.

The Blue Devils will open Jan. 9, on the road at GlenOak.  The seven-game schedule will feature four home contests for Tallmadge including a rematch of last year’s State finals participants: Tallmadge and Wooster.

“We will do our best to get the season in this year.  I know everybody involved is hoping for the best.  As we have seen before, things can change quickly and we will have to adapt on the fly,” Tallmadge Head Coach Tom Linder said.

Story originally posted 10/19/2020

The one constant we know during the Covid-19 pandemic is that nothing is constant.

The same holds true for this year’s Blue Devil Wheelchair Basketball team as they wait for word on whether or not they will even have a season.

Third-year Head Coach Tom Linder said, “We are still waiting to hear from League Director Lisa Followay on what our upcoming season will look like.  I’m just guessing, but I think we may wait until January until we get our schedule underway. We will probably play a shortened season in the three months heading up to the tournament in March.”

The Blue Devil program is beginning just its fourth season of existence but already has enjoyed a lot of success on the court.  Tallmadge has finished as the League and State runner-up in each of the past three seasons.  As a program they have a 33-13 record in three years of competition.

This year’s team will have a new look as program pioneers Isiah Johnson, Brennan Heavilin and Rory Murphy moved on following graduation.  The three seniors along with Kayden Ramser who moved out of state accounted for about 85% of last year’s scoring. 

“We will definitely be a defensive-oriented team this season,” Linder said.  “You can’t replace that group on or off the court. It’s impossible.  We will have to reinvent ourselves and move forward.”

The Blue Devils still have plenty of experience returning and will be looking for new players as well, once the season gets underway.  Returning for Tallmadge are junior Cory Michalec, Sophomore Courtney Kirsch, freshmen Emma Allen, Sammy Blatt and Cerafina Currey. Eighth grader Ben James along with Shataeya Patton, Iyad Hasin and Justin Steele round out the returners.  

“We have a lot of players with plenty of game experience so I am confident we will be able to be successful if we can get our season in this year,” Linder said.

Like most of the world today, the Blue Devil Wheelchair Basketball team is currently in a holding pattern.

Linder said, “All our players face challenges on a daily basis so this one is no different.  We will look at our options, adapt and plow forward. It’s how these kids roll.”