Canada falls to France to conclude the U23 Worlds
France topped Canada 62-33 at the IWBF Men’s U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Phuket, Thailand, on Thursday. With the loss, Canada concludes the U23 Worlds as the 10th seed.
Thursday’s contest was a rematch of the final round-robin game in which Canada edged France 58-56 in overtime on Tuesday. On Thursday, France jumped out to a 16-point advantage in the first quarter and finished as the tournament’s ninth seed with the win.
“They executed their game plan, and we didn’t execute the game plan we wanted,” said Darrell Nordell, Men’s Under-23 Head Coach. “We didn’t have our transition going, we weren’t finding the mismatches out there, and then we were shooting early in the shot clock when we talked about having higher percentage shots and working the ball closer to the key.”
Josh Brown led Canadian scorers with eight points and five rebounds. Garrett Ostepchuk chipped in seven points, five rebounds and four assists, while Reed De’Aeth added six points and 13 rebounds. Lionel Tamoki contributed six points.
Collin Lalonde, Ben Hagkull, and Joel Ewert each finished with two points.
Team Canada finished shooting 15 of 60 from the field. France shot 38 per cent from the field and scored 38 points in the paint.
“France came out wanting to win and to play us hard,” Nordell said. “We didn’t come out and execute. It starts with preparation. That’s why we have junior events like this: so that our athletes can learn how to prepare with regard to sleep, hydration, nutrition, and mental preparation.”
Canada and France scored 11 points each in the third quarter, but France continued to lead by 19, 44-25 heading into the fourth.
France led 33-14 at halftime. After being outscored by 16 in the opening period, Canada closed the gap in the second as France outscored Canada 9-6 in the quarter. Canada shot 6 of 28 from the field through two quarters while France was shooting 37 per cent from the field.
Brown paced Canada with six first-half points.
Canada trailed 24-8 after one quarter. France used a 10-0 run midway through the period to pull away. De’Aeth led Canadian scorers with four. Hagkull and Brown each had two.
The IWBF Men’s U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship is typically held every four years, with 12 countries participating. This year’s tournament will be the seventh edition of the event. It is the first U23 tournament since 2017, which Toronto hosted, and Great Britain won.
To be eligible to participate, male players must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1999. The IWBF is maintaining the same age category as if the event was held in 2021 to ensure athletes wouldn’t lose their eligibility due to the postponement of last year’s tournament.
“It was a really well-organized tournament,” said Nordell. “Kudos to Thailand and the local organizing committee; they put on a great tournament. I’m glad we came. Opportunities like this come only every four years. We just need to find more opportunities for our athletes to get reps.”
Full stats from Thursday’s game can be found here.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to excellence in developing, supporting, and promoting wheelchair basketball programs and services from grassroots to high performance for all Canadians. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem worldwide for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit wheelchairbasketball.ca.
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