Rollin' Hornets junior prep team wins NWBA national championship

Updated: Apr. 16, 2018 at 12:28 AM EDT
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(WBTV) - The Charlotte Rollin' Hornets Prep Purple Team won the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Junior Division Championship Sunday.

The Rollin' Hornets defeated the Minnesota Rolling Rowdies 32 -26 to become the national champions in their age group of 9-13 years old.

Head Coach Mike Godsey won the David Ruback Legacy Award for his dedication and commitment.

The Dave Ruback Legacy Award is designed for those who go "above and beyond the norm" for the betterment of the junior division, according to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Godsey was given the award that the NWBA says is awarded to a person who continues to be a leader in developing the sport of wheelchair basketball and the Junior Division.

Tracy and Darrell Smith are a part of the organization and have a son on the Varsity team. They live in Davidson. but just came back from Louisville Kentucky.

"All these kids are like our babies, we were so proud of our teams!! Those little guys who won look up to the Varsity players", Tracy Smith said.

The tournament started Thursday and Sunday at 1 p.m. The team beat the Minnesota Rolling Rowdies 32-26.

The last time this age group won a national championship title was nine years ago.

Tracy and Darrell's son Austin is on the varsity team.

"Unbelievable. so emotional so overwhelming, our son wasn't physically on that team but we're all like one big family," Darrell Smith said.

"It gives them the self-confidence they need to get through life. They already deal with difficulties and hardships with simple tasks, and they can see I've got these talents, I'm not going to let anything stop me," Darrell Smith said.

"They worked so hard for this and wanted it for so many years, and for all of it to come to fruition today it was just amazing and fantastic!"

Three brand new sports wheelchairs were delivered to the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets in March after an SUV was stolen from a home in Clover, SC.

Inside that SUV was 9-year-old Noah Lewis' specially designed wheelchair that allowed him play with the Charlotte Rollin Hornets basketball team.

RELATED: New sports wheelchairs delivered to Charlotte Rollin' Hornets thanks to generous donors

"We've had a lot of positive things coming through lately after Noah's chair was stolen," Darrel Smith said. "It's just been excellent. These kids have worked so hard to get where they are, and just to see all the kids at that tournament."

Academics are also an important part of the lives of every member of the Rollin' Hornets basketball team.

"We call them student athletes, six of our student athletes won academic all American awards at the awards dinner...not only are they athletes but they work hard in the classroom," Darrell Smith said.

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