In the third quarter final of the day, Great Britain – the runners up in Pool B – took on Australia – 0n the third placed team of Pool A.
It was a tense opening quarter with shots not falling for either team; Australia eventually breaking away to hold a 15-11 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes. Great Britain’s shots refused to fall again at the start of the second; Australia pushing ahead by 24-17 before the GB Men hit back to level the game on 24 points apiece with just under four minutes left in the half. Australia’s Brett Stibners then sunk a stunning three point shot to regain the lead for his team before Great Britain’s Ian Sagar immediately completed the three point play to tie the game on 27 points. The sides continued to trade points, but it was Australia who held a 31-29 advantage at half time.
Great Britain roared into action in the third, shooting their way to a 43-35 lead before Australia hit back to within just one point: 43-44. The teams then traded shots until Great Britain pulled ahead to enter the final 10 minutes of the game ahead by 52-45. The final 10 minutes of the game saw the GB Men put on a stunning performance at both ends of the court: combining sharp shooting with strong defensive play as they held firm to close out a semi final place with a 74-51 victory.
Great Britain Co-Captain Simon Brown said: “It was always a tough one: Australia are a huge rival of ours; we hadn’t played them for a long time in an important game so everyone was really excited for it. We felt pretty relaxed before the game and happy and we just executed our game plan. In the first half Australia’s just got the better of us; in the second half our stars came out and did an amazing job for us and got us on a good footing. The second unit then came in and did an amazing job.
“The team did an amazing job today: every single one of my brothers did an amazing job. We’re just going to prepare for the next game now.”
Great Britain Co-Captain Terry Bywater said: “This just goes to show what a great team we are. We were two points down at half time and the way we came out in that third quarter just shows you how good we are. We’ve got Spain next and I just believe that if we stick together and stick to our game plan, this team’s going to go all the way to the final.
“The GB men have made it into the top four in the world before, but the GB women – it brought a tear to my eye yesterday just to see them get that job done. It’s absolutely amazing to say that both teams are top four teams in the world.”
Australia Head Coach Ben Ettridge said: “I thought we came out competitive in the first half – we stuck to our game plan and to be where we were at the half was excellent. Then, I think, we just had one of those mental lapses that we’ve had this tournament, which has hurt us now in two games; all credit to GB – I think they did a great job – but we were far from our best today.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-quarterfinal-wb-4