25 August 2018
Historic gold for GB men at Wheelchair Basketball World Championships
Great Britain clinched their first ever Wheelchair Basketball World Championship title as they beat the USA 79-62 in Hamburg.
Harry Brown and George Bates put up a magnificent 17 points apiece as Philip Pratt’s 12 assists helped GB to a famous triumph.
And Haj Bhania’s side were cheered home all the way by a raucous travelling support in the Edel-optics.de Arena.
Their performance was made even more impressive by the way they controlled a game against the six-time Paralympic champions, a side who had already defeated them in the tournament’s group stages.
Big scorers throughout the tournament, they notched up over 70 points in four of their seven games and that, combined with a rock-solid defence, helped seal a historic victory.
GB made the perfect start to the game, racing into a six-point lead in the opening minutes before being pegged back as the sides ended the first quarter level on 16-16.
And they went score-for-score for much of the second until GB pulled away to take a 38-33 lead at the halfway stage.
A cagey start to the third quarter – thanks largely to solid defence by Brown and co – saw the Paralympic bronze medallists frustrate their American opponents and maintain the points gap.
Bhania’s side continued to score steadily before a flurry of points in a dramatic climax to the quarter, with Gregg Warburton hitting a clutch shot from the foul line to give GB a 54-47 lead with just ten minutes to go.
And they started the fourth quarter the way they finished the third, opening up a 12-point gap as the US started to make errors.
Bhania demanded tough defence in the closing stages, and his side duly delivered, even managing to add some gloss to the score-line as their opponents went for broke.
Chants of ‘basketball’s coming home’ and God Save the Queen resounded from the stands as GB sealed what was a phenomenal performance and a maiden World Championship.
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