Canadian Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Teams Post Opposite Results on Opening Day at Rio 2016

The Canadian men face Spain in their first preliminary match at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

(Rio de Janeiro) The Canadian men’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team fell 80-46 against Spain in men’s group A action on Thursday night at the Carioca 1 Arena at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“We didn’t play our best defense and I think we learned a lot of things that we know we have to tighten up,” said Team Canada player and Calgary native Chad Jassman. “Spain is a really good team out there, but obviously we are not happy with that performance. Offensively we need to get clicking more and move the ball around a little more. Defensively we have to find those edges a little more and find ways to make more chair contact.

“We’ve got to keep our head up. It’s a really long tournament. It’s a war not a battle. So we have to keep our heads up for the next game and come out as if it’s the first one. We can learn from what we did wrong this game and figure out our stuff for next game.”

David Eng, of Montreal, Que., produced a team-best 12 points for the Canadians. Teammate Bo Hedges, of Wonowon, B.C., dropped eight points, while Abdi Dini (Scarborough, Ont.), Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) and Peter Won (Blackfalds, Alta.) each added four points for Canada in the loss. Pablo Zarzuela was the top scorer for Spain with 29 points.

Canada opened the game with the hot hand of Regina native Nik Goncin dropping back-to-back three-pointers to give the Canadians a 6-4 lead. Spain responded with a 12-point run en route to a 20-11 lead after one quarter of play. Canada struggled to find the basket in the first half, while the Spanish attack was firing on all cylinders. Spain led 43-20 at halftime.

Spain continued to pull away in the second half and finished the contest with a 53 per cent shooting percentage from the field. Canada shot 26 per cent from the field. The Spanish players used their height to dominate the boards and forced Canada to repeatedly turn over the ball.

The Canadian men (0-1) will aim to rebound in their second game when they face the Netherlands (0-1) at 6 p.m. BRT on Friday.

Team Canada Kicks Off Rio 2016 With Win Over Great Britain in Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Opener

The Canadian women’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team secured a 43-36 win over Great Britain Thursday morning at the Rio Olympic Arena in the opening match of women’s wheelchair basketball competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“It’s good to get the first one out of the way,” said Team Canada’s Janet McLachlan. “It was such a build up to this point and it feels good to win and to have that first game under our belts, build a bit of confidence and move forward from here.”

McLachlan, of Vancouver B.C., led the Canadian side with a double-double on the strength of 21 points and 22 rebounds. Cindy Ouellet, of Quebec City, Que., had 14 points, while Donkin N.S. native Jamey Jewells tallied six points. Helen Freeman and Amy Conroy both posted a team-high 14 points for Great Britain.

The opening match was an intense back-and-forth contest with six lead changes. Neither team’s offence could seize momentum, setting up a strong defensive match.

Both teams traded the lead early with Canada narrowly edging the Brits 14-12 in the opening quarter. The trend continued in the second and third frames, with Canada holding a one-point lead, 25-24, at halftime and a 35-32 advantage after three periods.

The scoring dried up in the fourth quarter. Great Britain struggled to hit their shots down the stretch, shooting just 1-for-15 in the final period, while Canada pulled away to capture their first win at Rio 2016. On the whole, Canada shot 34 per cent from the field, compared to 27 per cent by Great Britain.

The Canadian women (1-0) have an off day on Friday and will next face Argentina (0-1) at 9:30 a.m. BRT on Saturday September 10.

About Wheelchair Basketball Canada

Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last six Paralympic Games.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee’s vision is to be the world’s leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

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