Great Britain’s Men’s team began their Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games campaign with a dominant team performance in a 70:43 victory over Algeria.
All 12 of the athletes selected to represent ParalympicsGB in Tokyo played their part as Gaz Choudhry and Terry Bywater led the GB scoring with 11 points each but there were points spread throughout the team.
It was a sign of the strength of depth within the squad, which includes five Paralympic debutants, with 30 points coming from the bench – including six points for Ben Fox, four for Lewis Edwards, two for James MacSorley and one for Billy Bridge all in their first ever Paralympics game.
But it was the starting five of Gaz Choudhry, Harry Brown, Abdi Jama, Gregg Warburton and Lee Manning that provided a strong base for GB to build from after an opening quarter that saw GB hold a 19:12 advantage.
2018 World Championships MVP Gregg Warburton found his form immediately, scoring with each of his first quarter attempts to end the opening quarter with eight points.
The second quarter saw the unit of Terry Bywater, Ian Sagar, Ben Fox, Jim Palmer and James MacSorley deployed with Ben Fox scoring the first two of his six points early in the quarter. The experienced shooters of Bywater and Sagar, competing at their sixth and third Paralympics respectively, added to GB’s points tally during the quarter helping to establish a 12-point lead at the halfway stage (33:21).
GB continued to assert their control on the game in the second-half; utilising their speed on the press as they extended their advantage to 23 points heading into the final quarter. Success from turnovers was a particular success throughout the game, with GB scoring 28 points off turnovers.
Player-coach Gaz Choudhry looked as composed as ever, even with the added responsibility of taking-up a coaching role, leading the GB scoring with Bywater with 11 points, as he helped extend GB’s advantage in the third quarter.
The final quarter will live long in the memory of Lewis Edwards and Billy Bridge, not only did GB get their Tokyo campaign off to a winning start, but it was a quarter that saw Edwards and Bridge make their first senior GB appearance and, to top it off, score their first Paralympics points on their debut.
Edwards and Bridge were part of a GB five in the final quarter that included four Paralympics debutants alongside the experience of Terry Bywater, who scored a final quarter three-pointer to take him to 11 points for the game, along with six rebounds and nine assists.
From six-time Paralympian to Paralympic debutant, the final points were scored by James MacSorley who rounded-off his first Paralympics appearance with a neat finish to a fast break in the final 30 seconds of the game.
The Men’s team are back in action on Friday at 06:45 (BST) when they take on Germany.