Great Britain’s Men reached their seventh successive Paralympic Games semi-finals after producing another superb fightback to beat Canada 66:52 in the quarter-finals.
ParalympicsGB were 10 points down in the third quarter, but came back to win by 14 points to reach another major semi-final. Player-coach Gaz Choudhry recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, while Lee Manning and Gregg Warburton scored 17 and 16 points, respectively.
It was a back and forth opening two quarters with the game tied 10 times and both teams having spells in the lead during the first 20 minutes. All of the GB starting five of Choudhry, Manning, Warburton, Harry Brown and Abdi Jama had scored points by the time the clock had ticked past halfway in the first quarter.
GB had built a lead of four points, but Canada finished the quarter strongly to take a two-point lead into the second period of 10 minutes.
The start of the second-quarter followed a similar pattern to the first; both teams cancelling each other out in the early stages as Choudhry and Jama both had success from outside the paint to add to the GB points tally.
It was, however, Canada who had the upper hand heading into half-time, despite good defensive pressure by GB and points from Choudhry and Terry Bywater in the final minutes of the second quarter, as Canada took a four-point lead into half-time, 26:30.
Gregg Warburton found his shooting rhythm at the start of the third quarter, scoring four points early. Canada, however, extended their lead to 10 points with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.
But ParalympicsGB GB responded brilliantly. The next 10 points were all scored by GB; baskets from Brown, Warburton, Manning and Choudhry drawing GB back level. An important scoring run to make it a one-point game heading into the final quarter after Patrick Anderson added a point for Canada from the free-throw line late in the quarter.
It was set-up to be another grandstand, but nail-biting finale, for ParalympicsGB supporters watching back home. But on the court GB remained calm and composed. Four points from Warburton gave GB a three-point lead within 90 seconds of the start of a final quarter that saw GB outscore their opponents, 24:9.
It was another superb performance by ParalympicsGB, built on a robust defensive display, particularly in the second-half, and high-quality shooting.
After two early baskets for Warburton at the start of the final quarter and two points from Manning, GB had gone from trailing at the start of the quarter to a three-point lead within two-and-a-half minutes of the restart.
With Manning, Warburton and Choudhry continuing their scoring, including a three-pointer from Choudhry, GB had established a 14-point lead with three-and-a-half minutes to go. Excellent defensive play and game management ensured there was not going to be another tense conclusion to the game as ParalympicsGB held firm to record a 66:52 win.
ParalympicsGB’s Men’s Team will play Japan in the semi-finals on Friday (3 September). Time TBC.