Wheelchair Basketball Canada: Canada edged France to conclude round robin play at U23 Worlds

Reed De’Aeth had a game-high 26 points as Canada edged France 58-56 in overtime to conclude round-robin play at the IWBF Men’s U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Phuket, Thailand, on Tuesday. “It feels really good to get a win, and you can’t practice games like that where you have to go to overtime and hold it together and win,” said Darrell Nordell, Men’s Under-23 Head Coach. “I’m happy for the athletes, they’re happy themselves. It’s a learning process; we’re getting better each game.” De’Aeth added 23 rebounds and three assists in the win. Garrett Ostepchuk added 12 points, five assists and three rebounds, while Collin Lalonde chipped in with six points and four assists. “You look to the veterans such as Reed and Garrett and Collin – I throw props out to Austin MacLellan today, too,” Nordell said. “I thought Austin played really well when he came in too. I thought he played really well today and showed some patience.”  France out-scored Canada 14-8 in the fourth erasing a six-point deficit and forcing overtime. In the extra frame, Ben Hagkull’s free throw with 1:37 remaining gave the Canadians a 55-54 lead, and Canada held off France the rest of the way for its first win at the U23 Worlds. Hagkull finished with five points and four rebounds. The Canadians finished shooting 26 of 67 from the field and were 33 per cent from three-point range in the win. Canada held France to 33 per cent shooting on Tuesday. Team Canada started the second half on a 7-2 run and opened a 10-point lead midway through the quarter. France battled back to cut Canada’s lead to 42-36 through three quarters.  Ostepchuk and De’Aeth led the way with 12 points each as Canada held a 29-24 lead at halftime. The Canadians shot 13 of 33 from the field through two quarters and out-scored France 16-13 in the second. Josh Brown and Hagkull had two points each at the break. Team Canada led 13-11 after the first quarter of play. Canada fell behind 8-2 early but went on their own 6-2 run to make it a two-point game with 3:56 to play in the opening period and concluded the quarter on a 5-1 surge. De’Aeth paced Canadian scorers with seven points, while Ostepchuk had six in the quarter. Canada will face South Africa in the relegation round on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 12:00 a.m. ET. The game can be live streamed on the IWBF’s YouTube channel.“We played them earlier in an exhibition game. They’ve got a couple of really quick players,” Nordell explained. “You can’t underestimate South Africa. They play every minute, every possession. They gave us a good game in our exhibition game.”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 Tuesday’s game can be found here.


Press release & photo: Wheelchair Basketball Canada

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