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Mixed fortunes for GB basketballers

DAY THREE of the BT Paralympic World Cup saw both the men’s and women’s Great Britain wheelchair basketball teams lose by the narrowest of margins to Canada and Japan respectively – but the women are still assured of a spot in tomorrow’s final.

The women had hoped to make it a clean sweep in the group stages with a win against Japan but suffered a 43-42 loss in the dying minutes of the game.

However, Garry Peel’s side will still be aiming to secure their first ever BT Paralympic World Cup title, as they face either Germany or Japan in tomorrow’s gold medal game.

Helen Freeman continued to dominate the offence for Britain – having top scored against Germany yesterday – with a 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Japan relied on Mari Amimoto who poured in an impressive 22 points and 10 rebounds, with her team mate Ikumi Inoue contributing 15 boards.

Gary Peel said: “After the first two days this was very disappointing. We should’ve beaten them by about ten or 12 points but we didn’t finish it in the last quarter. We couldn’t buy a basket. Tomorrow we just have to focus on finishing. Our floor game is good, now we need to focus on closing it out.”

There was little to separate the two sides for much of the opening 20 minutes as both worked the defensive rebounds and both converted a low percentage of field shots. Britain entered the locker room leading 26-20.

When they returned both sides again struggled to shoot the ball. However, Japan managed to chip away at the score and tied the game 26-26 midway through the third.

GB responded immediately with a six-point run and by the time Caroline Maclean hit a lay-up Britain led 36-30.

In the final period both teams found their shooting rhythm and with less than two minutes on the clock Japan took the lead, 43-42.

Time out was called with only 0.7seconds remaining, which was not enough time for GB to claw back the point deficit.

The result left GB tied at the top of the table with Japan – but leading on game scores.

Germany defeated Canada 52-37 in the final game of the day, which meant they finished the group stages on five points along with Britain and Japan.

However, a combination of results between the trio and their respective points differential means it is Germany and GB who advanced to the final, while Japan will take on Canada for bronze.

 

MEANWHILE the GB men left it too late to overcome Canada and their 56-52 loss means they will contest the bronze with Brazil on Thursday, while Canada will take on France in the final.

Adam Lancia led the way with 16 points while Canadian team mate Patrick Anderson ended on 13.

For GB three players ended on double digits with Dan Highcock and Terry Bywater recording 12 each and Matthew Sealy hitting 10.

Remarkably the British bench outscored Canada’s by 42 points to 17.

Bywater said: “We showed our bulldog spirit in the final quarter. Everyone on the floor wanted to win that game. When you go into the last quarter 15 points behind it’s really going to be a struggle.

“Brazil is a must win game. We came here hoping to win the tournament as it’s massive for us. I wouldn’t say it’s a failure but if we don’t go home with a medal it will be a possible failure.”

Deep into the fourth it was Britain who found themselves in foul trouble with Simon Munn, Peter Finbow and Ademola Orogbemi all one away from being ejected from the game.

However, as they had done throughout the game, GB were able to rely on the depth of their bench to earn their points.

Having trailed for the whole game, GB were resilient and continued to persevere. When Britain sunk the ball with only 23 seconds on the clock they reduced it to a two-point game and timeout was called.

But unable to regain possession from the Canadians, Anderson was fouled and he duly sunk both of his shots from the line to give his team a 56-52 win, and a place in tomorrow’s final against France.

The GB team will be unable to defend their title and instead will contest the bronze medal with Brazil.

 

ELSEWHERE, sitting volleyball made a debut appearance at the BT Paralympic World Cup, as the GB men’s team took on the Netherlands in international exhibition match held at the Manchester Regional Arena, with the latter emerging as the victors.

GB had a strong start and took the lead in the first set, winning it by a clear nine points in a score of 25-16. In the second set GB took the lead but the Netherlands fought back to win by 26-24.

A close third set followed with only two points separating the two teams throughout.

The Netherlands just clinched the set by 25-22, taking them two sets up, before a fantastic fourth set, taking a 15-10 lead early on, and continuing their strong form to clinch the set at 25-16 and finish winners of the match at 3-1 sets.

Coach Ian Legrand said: “This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our sport and we hope that it will raise the profile of sitting volleyball. The team played well and I can see improvements, what we lack is consistency.

“We beat the Netherlands only six weeks ago in another close match, so we know we have the ability to beat the top teams in the world but we haven’t reached the stage where we can deliver a winning performance every time, so this is what we need to work on.”

 

DAY FOUR will see the first points posted on the BT Paralympic World Cup team trophy score sheet as the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball gold and bronze matches take place.

An international boccia match will also be staged between GB and Ireland.

 

www.channel4.com/paralympics.

 

Tickets for the BT Paralympic World Cup are on sale. For more information visit: www.btparalympicworldcup.com

 

 

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