(Rio de Janeiro) The Canadian men’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team ended competition on a high note with 70-51 win over Algeria on Wednesday morning at the Rio Olympic Arena, securing its first victory and 11th place at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“Even though we have had some tough losses, we knew we had to persevere, to come out and show our mental toughness, and to come out strong this game. We came together as a team and did that,” said Team Canada rookie Ben Moronchuk, of Edmonton, Alta.
“We didn’t have the biggest amount of confidence after what’s happened in the tournament so far and definitely weren’t happy with the way we have played,” said Canada’s Liam Hickey, of St. John’s, N.L. “So to come out today and be strong, it was a good a finish for us and we are proud. It was a great Paralympics and overall a great experience for me personally.
“We all know we could have done a lot better and we still want to accomplish a lot more. Nobody has their head down now and we are ready to get back to work for the next quad so that we can come into 2020 10 times stronger than we were at this Paralympics. I think everyone is much more eager to come back and have a stronger performance.”
Both clubs started off slowly but picked up the pace in the second quarter as they found their grooves offensively. The Canadians had the eight-point lead at 30-22 going into halftime. Canada, determined to finish strong, seized momentum early in the third quarter en route to a 50-37 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play. Canada went on a nine-point run early in the final frame to extend the lead and put the game out of reach. All Canadian players saw game action with the bench contributing 41 points to the victory.
Nik Goncin (Regina, Sask.) was the top point producer for Canada with 19 points. David Eng (Montreal, Que.) had 14 points, Bo Hedges (Wonowon, B.C.) tallied 12 points and Hickey dropped seven points. Algeria’s Nabil Guedoun led his team with 22 points while teammate Bilel Ayache added 17 points.
The Canadian women (3-2) resume play on Friday at 3:15 p.m. BRT when they face China (2-3) to determine fifth place at the Rio Olympic Arena.
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.