(Prince George, B.C.) Host British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Prince Edward Island earned their first victories on the opening day of wheelchair basketball competition at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.
Team B.C. went 1-1 on the day, starting things off with a victory over Manitoba before falling in a thriller to Team P.E.I to close out the day.
“We started off the day a bit shaky but we settled down and found our rhythm,” said Team B.C. head coach Marni Abbott-Peter. “We improved in our games today and we will continue to get better as we progress throughout the tournament.”
The tournament features the next generation of rising stars, with and without disabilities, showcasing why wheelchair basketball is amongst the most popular and inclusive sports featured at the Canada Games, which act as a gateway for future Olympic and Paralympic champions.
Game #1: British Columbia 61 – Manitoba 29
Team B.C. opened the competition in decisive fashion by posting a 61-29 win over Manitoba in front of a divided, but rocking crowd. The host team took the early lead over a young Manitoba side and never relinquished the advantage on the scoreboard. B.C. used its depth to score 35 points from the bench. Chilliwack natives Tanner Scott and Ben Hagkull were the top point producers for Team B.C. with 18 and 10 points, respectively. Kail McCluskey, of Morris, Man., led the Team Toba herd with 14 points, while teammate and Winnipeg native Owen Rigby dropped 12 points.
Game #2: Alberta 65 – Nova Scotia 19
Team Alberta set the tone early as a relentless offense put up 30 points while holding Team Nova Scotia off the scoreboard in the opening quarter. Team Nova Scotia hit the scoresheet in the second frame en route to posting 19 points overall. Bradon Doll, of Camrose, Alta., tallied 18 points and Ben Moronchuk, of Edmonton, chimed in with 17 points for Alberta. Cole Harbour, N.S. native Ben Power scored a team-high 9 points while Joel Goswell, of Truro, N.S., added 7 points for Nova Scotia.
Game #3: Saskatchewan 49 – Ontario 31
Saskatchewan and Ontario battled it out in one of the most heated matches of the opening day. A back-and-forth first half saw the teams deadlocked in a 19-19 draw at halftime. Saskatchewan pulled away in the third quarter by converting on its opportunities and outscoring Ontario 20-6. Saskatoon native Jared Sajtos dropped a game-high 22 points and collected 14 rebounds to earn the double-double for Saskatchewan. Eric Voss, of St. Mary’s, Ont., was the top point producer for Ontario with 8 points.
Game #4: Quebec 74 – New Brunswick 40
Team Quebec picked up its seventeenth consecutive Canada Games victory with a 74-40 win over New Brunswick at the 2015 Canada Games. The team from la Belle Province outscored Team New Brunswick 24-2 in the opening quarter and never looked back. Benjamin Palmer, of Laval, paced the floor with 28 points and 14 assists for Quebec. Jacob Fudge, of Saint John, led all Team NB players with 20 points. Quebec is the three-time defending champion and has not lost a match at the Canada Games since 1999.
Game #5: Prince Edward Island 60 – British Columbia 54
Team P.E.I. defeated Team B.C. in a thrilling finale on opening day. Team P.E.I. held the 29-22 advantage at halftime, but Team B.C. chipped away at the lead in the third quarter. Prince George native Avril Harris dropped a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter and send Team B.C. into the final frame within four points. The momentum carried over into the final quarter for Team B.C. as the teams exchanged the lead, but ultimately the comeback fell just short. Jeremy Watts, of Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Liam Hickey, of St. John’s, Nfld., were the offensive catalysts for Team P.E.I. with 29 and 27 points, respectively. Ben Hagkull, of Chilliwack, B.C., led Team B.C. with 12 points.
The complete tournament schedule and results are available at www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.
All of the games will be webcast live through the official Canada Games web portal at www.canadagamestv.ca. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #CGwheelchairbball.
About the 2015 Canada Winter Games
The 2015 Canada Winter Games is the largest multi-sport and cultural event to ever be held in Prince George and northern British Columbia. The Games will feature 2,400 up-and-coming athletes from across Canada as they compete in 19 different sports, including wheelchair basketball, with the dream of becoming Canada’s next champions.
For more information, visit www.canadagames2015.ca.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports 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.