Wheelchair Basketball Canada: Japan defeates Canada at U23 Worlds

Reed De’Aeth had a game-high 20 points; however, Canada dropped a 69-38 decision to Japan at the IWBF Men’s U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship on Sunday morning in Phuket, Thailand.

De’Aeth added seven rebounds and three assists in the loss. Josh Brown chipped in six points and five rebounds, while Garrett Ostepchuk finished with six points and four rebounds.

“That’s kind of what we expect from Reed every game. We need that scoring from both inside and outside because once he can score inside, he can draw more people out for us,” said Darrell Nordell, Men’s Under-23 Head Coach. “I thought Garrett had a great game again today. Garrett is really playing within the moment for the number of minutes he’s been playing. Really appreciative of how G is leading the team.”

The Canadians outscored Japan 18-14 in the fourth quarter, but Japan held a 55-20 advantage through three quarters. The Japanese opened the second half on an 8-0 run pushing its lead to 30 points.

“We took a timeout midway through the third quarter and said, ‘Hey, what kind of basketball do we want to finish with? Do we want to continue to let Japan’s lead get bigger, or do we want to start working on the things we’ve been doing in practice: creating the space, creating better angles not only to pick but also to pass, and then making sure we can get to spots where we can get a mismatch for Reed,’” Nordell said.

“We just started shooting. We started becoming comfortable in our shooting. Reed was taking a breath, he was sitting up nice and straight, he was looking at his target, and he was following through. Reed played great to finish for us, which is good for him.”

Canada finished shooting 34 per cent from the field, while Japan shot 30 of 65 from the field and scored 40 points in the paint.

Japan led 32-10 at halftime. The Japanese opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run and outscored Canada 12-2 in the period.  De’Aeth and Brown each had four points in the half, while Collin Lalonde added two.

Canada fell behind 4-0 early in the opening quarter but battled back to make it a two-point game with 3:49 remaining in the period. Following a Japanese timeout, Japan went on a 10-0 run to open a 20-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

Brown paced Canada in the opening quarter with four points. Lalonde and De’Aeth each had two points in the period.

Up next, Canada faces Turkey on Monday, Sept. 12, at 12:45 am ET. The game can be live streamed on the IWBF’s YouTube channel.

“Turkey is a tall team. They have three tall guys. Very much similar to playing Spain,” Nordell explained. “They’ll be as aggressive as Spain and they upset Spain on Saturday.”

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 Sunday’s game can be found here.

Press release & photo: Wheelchair Basketball Canada

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