The Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team will have to wait until Sunday to try and earn their first win of the 2016 Men’s Continental Clash.
Canada lost both of their Saturday games at this tournament being hosted in Leicester, Great Britain. They fell 64-53 to the Netherlands, and 77-30 to U.S.A., in a competition also featuring Australia, Japan and the host nation.
A strong effort early on made the difference for the Netherlands as they stormed to a 21-8 lead over Canada after the first quarter. The Canadian team could not overcome the deficit in the remaining three portions of the game despite a 20-7 edge on the scoreboard in the final quarter.
Leading the way for Canada was Nik Goncin (Regina, Sask) with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Liam Hickey (St. John, N.L) with 10 points. March Van de Kuilen came off the bench and powered the Netherlands with a team-leading 15 points, while Mattijis Bellers chipped in with 12.
It was the Americans’ dominance in the paint that propelled them to a mammoth 47-point win over their North American rivals— they outscored Canada a staggering 46 to 20 in the critical scoring area. Team U.S.A also increased their offensive output each quarter: they scored 14 points in the first, 19 in the second, 21 in the third and 23 in the fourth. Conversely, Canada was held to under 10 points in all but one quarter (10 in the second).
Rookie Ben Moronchuk (Edmonton, Alta.) led Canada with 10 points and three assists. Steve Serio and Jake Williams both scored 12 points to help lift the U.S. to victory.
Team Canada will play one game a day for the remaining three days of this Paralympic tune-up event. There is no playoff round for this highly competitive tournament. The team(s) that is No.1 in the standings at the end of Tuesday’s game will be the champion.
- Sun. July 3 at 10 a.m. EST – Canada vs. Great Britain
- Mon. July 4 at 10 a.m. EST – Canada vs. Japan
- Tues. July 5 at 4:45 a.m. EST – Canada vs. Australia
Photo: Dan Galbraith/Canadian Paralympic Committee