Rollers' wheelchair basketball heartbreak | Blue Mountains Gazette | RopSport
Basketball

Rollers’ wheelchair basketball heartbreak | Blue Mountains Gazette

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Australia have qualified for the men’s wheelchair basketball quarter-finals despite a heartbreaking 70-69 loss to Great Britain in their final group game.

The Rollers were cruising towards victory after opening up a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter of Monday night’s match in Tokyo.

They still led by 13 points at halftime, but Great Britain hit back hard to level the scores in the third term.

Australia regained momentum late in the match to open up a five-point lead with less than three minutes remaining.

But a clutch three-point shot from playing coach Gaz Choudhry sparked a 6-0 run that gave Great Britain a one-point lead.

Australia had one last chance to win the game when they had an inbound pass with two seconds remaining, but a three-point attempt from Shaun Norris fell short.

Tom O’Neill-Thorne top-scored for Australia with 23 points, while Norris scored 21 points.

Ghoudhry (28 points) and Gregg Warburton (22) did the damage for Great Britain.

The result means Australia finished the group stage with a 3-2 record.

Australia’s loss to Great Britain was at least a marked improvement on their 66-38 defeat to the US a day earlier.

Great Britain stunned the US 64-63 on Saturday, but they were given a rude wake-up call early as Australia soared to a 36-16 lead midway through the second quarter.

However, the Rollers couldn’t keep their hot form going, with Great Britain launching a brave fightback to snatch victory.

The Rollers have won two Paralympic gold medals, and they are aiming to bounce back from their disappointing sixth-placed finish in Rio.

But their patchy form is causing concern.

“We’re pretty disappointed with that one – we started really well and the first 15 minutes were probably the best 15 minutes we’ve ever played,” O’Neill-Thorne said.

“The next 25 minutes were pretty average.

“It was an unreal start, but it really only matters when you finish it off.”

Choudry took over as British coach only a week ago when Haj Bhania tested positive for coronavirus and could not travel to Tokyo.

Australian Associated Press



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