Team Canada locks up quarterfinals berth on Day 6 at the Paralympics
Men defeat Colombia 63-52 in final game of prelims
(August 30, 2021 – TORONTO, Ont.) Team Canada is off to the quarterfinals in men’s wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics following a 63-52 win over Colombia.
Patrick Anderson had a game-high 22 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists, while Nik Goncin contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Colin Higgins poured in 14 points and four rebounds off the bench.
“We executed exactly kind of how we wanted to in the first half and did what we wanted,” said Bo Hedges, who finished with 10 points in the win. “Then in the second half they came out, we knew they were going to battle, they weren’t going to give up, they still had a chance to get through to the quarterfinals.
“Colombia came out and fought hard, and we were able to weather the storm. It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest win in the end, but we got the win, and we get through to the quarters now.”
Canada (2-3) now awaits the conclusion of the preliminary round and will play the Group B winner in the quarterfinals.
“We played good defensively, and as always, we’re continuing to improve on the defensive side. The defensive game always helps winning,” said head coach Matteo Feriani. “We needed to learn how to play together, and finally, we are learning. We keep learning how to play together each game.”
Colombia (0-5) opened the game, scoring the first three points, but Canada responded with a 7-0 surge and never relinquished its lead. Team Canada led 15-7 after one quarter holding Colombia to just 20 per cent shooting from the field.
Anderson paced the Canadians with 14 points, 13 rebounds and six assists through the first two quarters as Canada held a 16-point advantage at halftime.
Team Canada pushed its lead to 20 points opening the second half on a 6-2 run. Colombia responded in the fourth out-scoring Canada 15-12.
“We have been playing pretty well even against teams like Turkey and Japan. We had some good quarters early, so this game, it was nice to carry that through for the whole game and get four quarters where we put it all together for a game,” Hedges said.
With the game in control, Feriani was able to utilize more of his bench against Colombia. Canada’s bench out-scored Colombia 16-4 in the win.
Feriani was especially pleased with the defensive contributions of Jonathan Vermette.
“Jo has been extremely positive in his response,” Feriani said. “It has been great to see. It doesn’t matter how many points he scored, the heart he plays with on the defensive side, his great defensive play helps the offence wonderfully. Most of Pat and Bo’s offence came from Jo’s defensive play, which is not always seen, but it’s noticeable.”
As Canada’s attention now switches to the quarterfinals, Hedges believes the group has a better understanding of what it takes to close out games.
“We’re getting there. We still got some improvements to make,” he said. “Still, we can slow the game down when we have the lead. We don’t have to rush. If the opponent makes some buckets, it doesn’t really matter when you’re up 10-12 points.”
Men’s Quarterfinals schedule:
Women’s Quarterfinals schedule:
Monday, August 30: Canada vs U.S.A. 11:30 p.m. ET
For livestream links please CLICK 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 that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world 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.
Communications & Digital Media Manager
Wheelchair Basketball Canada