Team Canada dropped its tournament-opening game 78-41 to Spain at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on Wednesday.
Nik Goncin (Regina, SK) paced all Canadian scorers with 15 points and eight rebounds. Colin Higgins (Rothesay, NB) and Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON) each added eight points in Canada’s (0-1) loss.
“It was a slightly humbling game today,” said Higgins. “What we learned from today is, we don’t have to go back to the drawing board and re-invent ourselves. The changes that cost us are minor tweaks, and if we can clean up some of those things, we’re feeling good about tomorrow.”
Canada fell behind early in the first quarter and was unable to recover. Spain (2-0) jumped out to an 11-6 lead 5:23 into the first, before the game’s first time out. Spain led 23-10 after one quarter with Canada shooting just 4 of 13 from the field.
“The start was not bad. The second part of the first quarter is what was not good when they made their run,” said coach Matteo Feriani.
Spain led 41-24 at the break. Spain shot 18 of 38 from the field through two quarters while Canada was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Goncin had eight points at halftime.
“When we stopped the opponent’s chair, they could only rely on their outside shooting and they were shooting badly,” Feriani said. “When we stopped their chairs and when we were physical defensively, we’re also better offensively.”
Next up for Team Canada is a date with Turkey (Thursday, August 26 at 10:15 p.m. ET).
According to Feriani, the team needs to be more physical against Turkey.
“We need to be angrier, we need to be hungrier, we need to make our opponent feel our chairs and not be scared of the opponent,” said Feriani. “We need to protect the chair and to make chair contact.
“We need to attack. When someone is coming full speed, we need to stop them; we cannot let the opponent get into the key.”
Remaining Team Canada Tokyo Preliminary Round Schedule
Thursday, August 26: Turkey vs. Canada 10:15 p.m. ET
Saturday, August 28: Japan vs. Canada 1:45 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Canada vs. Korea 4:00 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Colombia vs Canada 8:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, August 26: Canada vs. Japan 8:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, August 28: Germany vs. Canada 4:00 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Canada vs. Australia 7:30 a.m. ET
Press release: WBC | Photo: Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee