Spain tops Canada at Men’s U23 Worlds
Team Canada fell 83-38 to Spain on Friday at the IWBF Men’s U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Phuket, Thailand.
Garrett Ostepchuk had a team-high 11 points, and Ben Hagkull added eight. Collin Lalonde chipped in six points and eight rebounds, while Reed De’Aeth finished with five points and four rebounds.
“Leadership showed tonight with guys like Garrett Ostepchuk and Ben Hagkull,” said Darrell Nordell, Men’s Under-23 Head Coach. “I thought their leadership was great. They played a lot of minutes, and they held themselves in control. They were doing some positive things out there, not only to help themselves but to help their teammates, especially the young kids we have on the team.”
Canada shot 17 of 56 from the field and went 1-for-7 from three-point range in the loss. Spain, who opened the second half on a 12-1 run and outscored Canada 20-8 in the third quarter, shot 40 of 85 from the field and scored 58 points in the paint in the win.
“I thought the athletes did a great job emotionally when they knew they were going into a game like this and how tough it would be,” Nordell said. “The bench was great. One of our goals was to limit the number of turnovers compared to the game we had against Brazil, and we did do that. Points in the paint hurt us. Spain is a big, tall team. It’s something we need to improve. We can’t let teams inside the paint.”
Spain held a 45-21 advantage at halftime. Spain opened the second period on an 8-0 run before Canada responded. Spain outscored Canada 19-11 in the quarter. Ostepchuk paced Canada with nine points through two quarters.
Spain opened a 26-11 lead on 12 of 22 shooting in the first quarter. Canada was led by Hagkull, who had six points. Ostepchuk added five. Spain opened an early 8-0 lead 2:49 into the quarter before Canada responded with four unanswered.
Next, Canada meets Japan on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10:30 pm ET. The game can be live streamed on the IWBF’s YouTube channel.
“We’re expecting a really fast team,” Nordell explained. “Not as tall a team, but quick and in sync with each other. Transition is going to be important for us.”
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.
Full stats from Friday’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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