(Toronto, Ont.) Team Canada has made their way to the classification matches at the 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship and will take on Germany for fifth place Thursday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto.
Game 31: Brazil v South Africa
Brazil battled South Africa to claim their first win of the tournament with an 85-29 victory in the first of the tournament’s classification matches. With the win Brazil takes 11th place while South Africa is resigned to 12th.
Brazil outpaced the South African team from the get-go, securing a 14 point advantage in the first quarter and building on that momentum throughout the rest of the game. Francisco Sampaio paced the Brazilian offense with 19 points and Ayabongo Jim notched 14 points for Team South Africa.
Game 32: Great Britain v Iran
In the first quarter-final match of the tournament, Great Britain claimed a 77-50 win against Iran after a dominant performance.
The British team came blazing out of the gates to produce a 15 point lead by half. The Iranians found themselves in some foul trouble and weren’t able to contend with the British offense to close the gap.
Team Great Britain managed to push ahead by 17 points to end the game with Jack Perry leading the British offense with 20 points. Iran’s Mohammadhassan Sayari countered with a game-high 21 points.
With the win Great Britain advances to the semifinals and Iran will be playing for seventh.
Game 33: Germany v Australia
With a 69-66 win against Germany, Australia advances to the semifinals.
The first half of the game favoured Germany as the team took advantage of cracks in the Australian defense while also pushing away their offense. Going into the second half Germany led by 11 points.
The Australians would not be deterred and with renewed intensity managed to make it a one point game by the end of the third quarter. The Germans were unable to stop the sharp shooting by Australia’s Tom O’Neill-Thorne that allowed them to take the lead in the fourth.
Head coach of the Australian team, Luke Brennan, discussed the team’s comeback, “I’m so proud of the boys. A lot of teams would have fallen behind after being down so much at halftime but credit to the boys. They fought and fought and fought and ended up pushing out a big three point win.”
Germany’s Matthias Güntner was the team-high scorer with 19 points, while teammate Nico Dreimüller contributed a double double with 12 points and 10 assists. On the Australian side O’Neill-Thorne paced the Australian attack with game-high 29 points.
Game 36: Canada v Japan
Canadian hosts were unable to push past the strong Japanese defense and admitted a 58-45 defeat to Japan after a tight quarter-final match.
The first half was a low scoring affair, both teams unable to find a way past the other’s defense. Japan held a small two point lead at the end of the first quarter but was able to push away from the Canadians, ending up with an eight point advantage at half.
The teams returned to the court to exchange baskets throughout most of the second half with Canada chipping away at Japan`s lead. It wasn’t until halfway through the fourth quarter, with Canada only trailing by four, that Japan hit their stride and left the Canadians behind after going on a 13 point run.
Japan’s Takuya Furusawa tallied the game-high 21 points and Renshi Choikai secured a double double for Japan with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Canadian contingent was led by Liam Hickey’s 19 points and 14 rebounds for a double double while Ben Moronchuk nearly matched Hickey`s output by contributing 18 points.
“I’m really proud of the guys, they came together and they had an opportunity to win it,” said Canadian assistant coach, Dave Durepos. “We came a little bit short this game and have to give it to Japan, they’re a quick team. This is a great opportunity to grow, they’ll probably always remember this when it’s going to be difficult to go on. We’re looking forward to playing Germany, we played against them just this past month and we did well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Game 35: Turkey v France
Adding another barn burner to the day’s quarter-final matches, Turkey defeated France with a 60-54 win to secure a berth to the semifinals.
France unleashed a spirited attack against the undefeated Turkish team. After a tied score at half, French players Alexis Ramonet and Louis Hardouin led the team to a five point lead in the third quarter. Turkey’s Ahmet Efetürk countered for Turkey to tie the game once again going into the fourth.
For the first time in the game Turkey took the lead in the fourth after a 10-2 run that France couldn’t recover from. Efetürk took the game-high 22 points for Turkey while Ramonet and Hardouin finished with 18 points each for France.
Efetürk talked about their upcoming game against Australia in the semis, “We know our mistakes from our last game against Australia, but this time we’re not going to make any mistakes and the game will be ours.”
About the Event
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is pleased to host the top junior male wheelchair basketball players on the planet from June 8-16, 2017 for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
World-class athletes representing 12 nations, including host Canada, will converge at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto to showcase the elite skill and athleticism that make wheelchair basketball a thrilling spectator sport and one of the most popular sports for athletes with a disability in the world. Over 400 athletes, coaches, officials, delegates, and volunteers will attend the event.
Team Canada is in pursuit of a return to the top of the podium, having won back-to-back gold medals at the world championship for junior men in 1997 and 2001. Most recently, Canada placed sixth at the last world championship for junior men in 2013.
For more information visit: www.2017u23wwbc.com / #2017u23wwbc
About the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF)
The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the international governing body responsible for wheelchair basketball. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide opportunities for persons with a disability to play the game of wheelchair basketball. For more information, please visit www.iwbf.org.
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 seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.