27 August 2021

GB claim thrilling men’s wheelchair basketball triumph over defending Paralympic champions

ParalympicsGB produced some of the best basketball they’ve ever played to beat defending champions USA in a Tokyo 2020 thriller, according to Gregg Warburton.

With one win and one defeat in Group B of the men’s wheelchair basketball competition heading into the contest against the reigning Paralympic gold medallists, Great Britain knew a victory would all but secure a quarter-final spot.

They took the lead towards the end of the first quarter and brilliantly nursed that advantage – winning 35-29 at half-time and opening up a gap of 12 points during the third quarter, with the scoring being shared around the team.

Warburton, Gaz Choudhry, Ian Sagar and Lee Manning all ended with a double-figure points haul but United States steadily fought back as the second half wore on and Trevon Jenifer’s fast-break score levelled the match at 63-63 with 90 seconds to play.

ParalympicsGB player-coach Gaz Choudhry impressed during the nailbiting win over USA

That ensured a grandstand finale, as Harrison Brown made one of his two free throws with 34 seconds left to edge ParalympicsGB ahead and they then defended defiantly – with USA’s last chance being Steve Serio’s buzzer-beating attempted three-pointer that rimmed out to give the Brits a heart-pumping 64-63 triumph.

“It was a really tight game against defending Paralympic champions USA and we just about managed to squeeze the win in the end,” said Warburton. “It was a really difficult game, as it would be against the defending champions.

“For three quarters we played some of the best basketball this group has ever played and we set the level, so we now know where we’re at. That’s good for us to know.

“We’ll recover after this one – we’ve got a relatively short turnaround going into tomorrow but it’s really good for this group to know we can grind out games like that and come away with the win.”

ParalympicsGB next face Iran at 9am local time (1am BST) on Saturday in their penultimate match in Group B.

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