Great Britain’s Men beat defending Paralympic champions USA in dramatic fashion, winning by one-point in a tense conclusion to the 64:63 game.
It was a tense end to what had been an enthralling game to watch, ever since Brown opened the scoring within the first 15 seconds. GB had to earn their 20:15 opening quarter advantage after a 6-0 scoring run for USA saw the defending Paralympic champions open up an early lead.
Gregg Warburton asserted his influence on the game, creating two baskets of his own, as GB put their own 8-0 scoring run together to build a five-point advantage at the end of the opening 10 minutes, their 20-15 score line including eight points from player-coach Gaz Choudhry.
It was a performance built on a dominant and hard-working defence as much as their quick and potent offence. 32 defensive rebounds and 15 turnovers was their end of game stats with Lee Manning alone collecting eight defensive rebounds in the opening quarter as he was again dominant under the basket.
By half-time, GB had extended their advantage to six, eight GB athletes adding points to the GB total including a two-point basket from Terry Bywater which made the score line 35:29 just as the half-time buzzer sounded.
The third quarter was again close with intensity and discipline the message from player-coach Gaz Choudhry. The team didn’t let foul trouble early in the second-half affect their game and, just as in the second quarter, extended their lead slightly to take a seven-point lead into the final 10 minutes.
The senior players within the squad led by example with Warburton, Choudhry, Manning and captain Ian Sagar all ending the game with double-figure points hauls including important points in both the third and final quarter. Abdi Jama also contributing points – six for the game – in the final quarter.
As USA steadily closed the gap in the final quarter, a fast-break from the USA’s Trevon Jenifer drew the scores level at 63-63 with 90 seconds to play, setting-up a grandstand finale, and a nail-biting one for ParalympicsGB supporters watching on from home.
Harry Brown made one of his two free throws with 34 seconds to go after a brilliant cut to draw the foul giving GB a one-point advantage as the clocked ticked down towards full-time.
ParalympicsGB knew they needed to stay disciplined and defend resolutely. Gregg Warburton did exactly that producing a potentially game-saving block from John Boie’s shot with just over three seconds to go.
But as the final buzzer drew nearer it became even more nerve-racking with two USA timeouts in the final few seconds adding to the tension. Final timeout complete there was one last chance for USA to claim the win but Steve Serio’s buzzer-beating attempted three-pointer rimmed out as GB secured a thrilling one-point victory in their third Pool A game.