Basketball. Canada’s wheelchair basketball team defeated Australia 76-37 in its final first-round game at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Sunday. This win would allow Canada to face the United States in the quarter-finals.
“The team recovered well from its game yesterday,” said coach Marc-Antoine Ducharme. Today we wanted to work on our movement of the ball and take turns in defense – things that didn’t work against Germany. The response was excellent and we were able to convince all the players to play, including our young athletes.”
It is noteworthy that the national team suffered its only defeat the previous day against Germany, with a score of 59-57.
Tamara Steves scored 17 points, which is the most points for the team, in addition to seven rebounds, while Arn Young added 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the victory.
Canada took advantage of the 11-0 streak to secure a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and didn’t stop. Team Canada shot 57 per cent from the field while keeping Australia to only 29 per cent of shots in the win.
“After our loss to Germany, we talked a little bit about the need to start playing more basketball for the team, and we were going to play Australia, so that was our main focus,” Young said. We had a quick streak early, against this team, and that was a little bit out of there.”
With a clear margin of victory, Canadian coach Marc-Antoine Ducharme once again secured playing minutes for players off the bench on Sunday, including Sandrine Biroubi who scored her first six Paralympic points in 11 minutes.
“Sandrine came out onto the field and just started playing really well. This is what Sandrine has been doing all summer so we were so excited that she is playing with so much confidence this time around. I felt like a proud mother to be able to see her play. I think most of us were too. She scored her first basket, we didn’t even plan. “All the players reacted to his encouragement and support,” Young said.
The four Kiebecker members of the team blacklisted the results sheet during this meeting. Cindy Ole was the most productive with nine points, ahead of Sandrine Biroubi who collected six. Élodie Tessier (2) and Rosalie Lalonde (1) then followed.
Canada knows the US team. The two teams competed in the gold medal match at the Parapan Am Games 2019 in Lima, which Canada won 67-64.
“I can’t wait to play against the Americans. They always give their best and we, you know, are going to have a big little rivalry. The United States has 12 strong players, so we have to figure out how to play against them and how we’re going to play it tomorrow on our day off.”
The Canadians finished the preliminary round with three wins and one loss. The quarter-final matches will be played on Tuesday, August 31. (LPS)
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