Canadian Parapan Am Wheelchair Basketball Teams Bring the Heat on Opening Day of Competition at Toronto 2015 Games

(TORONTO, ONT.) The Canadian Parapan Am Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Teams wasted no time putting their competition on notice that Canada came to Toronto 2015 Games to play for keeps. The eager Canadian squads hit the hardwood with purpose and were quick to discover their groove on route to capturing monumental wins on the first day of competion at the Toronto Games.

Canadian Parapan Am Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Blaze their way to a 78-18 Win over Guatemala

080815-Arinn YoungA fired-up Canadian Parapan Am Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team lit up the scoreboard at the Ryerson Athletic Centre with a 78-18 victory over Guatemala on their first day of competition at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. In the process the red-hot Canadians set team highs for most points scored in a game and largest margin of victory at the Parapan Am Games since 2007.

Katie Harnock, of Elmira, Ont. sparked the Canadian offence scoring the games first four baskets in the opening minutes on route to a 11 point, 5 rebound performance. Meanwhile, it was rookie sensation Arinn Young, of Legal, Alta. who led all players with a game-high 18 points, and team-leading 8 rebounds in just 14:21 of court time.

“Embracing the challenge that comes along with playing in the first game of a big tournament was the key to our success today,” said Young. “My heart was racing. I was so nervous before the game so to get this first one out of the way feels really good. To get all the jitters out and come away with the win is the exactly the start we wanted.”

Guatemala’s Alva Puca scored 16 of her teams 18 points, and added a game high 12 points.

“We got the start we were looking for because a lot of times when it’s your first game like this people come into the game ice cold. I thought our starters did a really good job coming in with confidence and hitting those important shots early. After that the players coming off the bench did what they had to do and we kept the momentum going,” said Prince Albert, Saskatoon’s Erica Gavel, who finished with 10 points and a game-high 5 assists. Canada capitalized on strong defense and good positioning all over the court to force Guatemala into committing 27 turnovers, which resulted in 32 points, or 41% or their total offense. Next up the Canadian women play their second game against Mexico on Sunday August 9th at 20:45 ET.

Canadian Parapan Am Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Tam Scorches Venezuela 102 – 27

080815-AdamLanciaThe offense was firing on all cylinders when the Canadian Parapan Am Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team exploded to set a team record for most points scored in game against since 2007 when they defeated Venezuela 102-27. Veteran Adam Lancia of Toronto, Ont., whose game-high 35 points was the most of any male competitor on the first day of competition, led Canada.

“We came out of the gates smoking tonight and we’re literally chomping at the bit to play again,” said Lancia.“We got a lot of points in the paint tonight because we were able to tire them out early. The key was definitely the way were able to play defense and then transition right on them into offense,” he added.

Two Canadian players finished the day with double-doubles (scoring double digits in two offensive categories). Nik Goncin, of Regina, Sask., notched 18 points and gobbled up 14 rebounds, while Lancia added 11 rebounds to go along with his 35 points.

Seventeen-year-old Liam Hickey, of St. John’s, N.L., had an impressive multi-sport Games debut coming of the bench to drain his first international points with the senior men’s team midway through the game. He went three-for-six from the field to finish with six points.

“I feel amazing right now. This is the best experience I have ever had in my life playing at home, with the crowd, the court and everything, the atmosphere here is just crazy,” said Hickey.

Canada moved the ball well throughout the match accumulating 19 assists and scoring 50 points, or nearly half of their total points from inside the paint.

Next up the Canadian men play their second game against Mexico on Monday August 10th at 18:30 ET

The Stakes – Paralympic Berths on the Line

As the sole qualifier for the 2016 Paralympic Games, the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games are crucial for both national teams. The Canadian men are the defending London 2012 Paralympic champions and must finish amongst the top two teams in Toronto in order to qualify for Rio 2016. On the women’s side, Team Canada sits atop the world rankings as the reigning world champion and must finish amongst the top three teams in order to punch its ticket to Rio.

Team Canada – Schedule & Results

Day 1 – Saturday August 8
Canada (women) 78 vs. Guatemala  18
Canada (men) 102 vs. Venezuela 27

Day 2 – Sunday August 9
Canada (women) vs. Mexico @ 20:45 ET

Day 3 – Monday August 10
Canada (men) vs. Mexico @ 18:30 ET

Day 4 – Tuesday August 11
Canada (women) vs. Brazil @ 16:15 ET
Canada (men) vs. Argentina @ 18:30 ET

Day 5 – Wednesday August 12
(tbd)

Day 6 – Thursday August 13
(tbd)

Day 7 – Friday August 14
(tbd)
Women’s bronze medal game @ 16:30 ET
Women’s gold medal game @ 18:45 ET

Day 8 – Saturday August 15
(tbd)
Men’s bronze medal game @ 08:30 ET
Men’s gold medal game @ 11:00 ET

Don’t Miss A Second of the Action

Get social with Wheelchair Basketball Canada (@WCBballCanada) by using the hashtags #OneTeam #OneGoal to join the conversation and follow the Canadian Parapan Am Wheelchair Basketball Team Canada as they push for the podium and the chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games!

Fans can also follow the entire Canadian Paralympic Team (@CDNParalympics) as Team Canada competes on home soil or by using the hashtag #paratough.

All wheelchair basketball games are webcast live by CBC at www.cbc.ca/sports/parapanam

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