The competition for the quarter-finals of the men’s wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games was still wide open in Group B, with only Algeria unable to progress.

Germany and Iran were the first to meet on the final day of the preliminary stages to fight for the final quarter-final ticket. Germany went into the game with a slightly better position (2-2 record) but Iran could steal Germany’s spot. With a win over Germany, they would also be at a 2-2 record and would have the advantage in the head-to-head comparison to advance to the quarters. The stage was set for a decisive game at Ariake Arena. Germany started off strong and little by little increased their lead, allowing them to go into the last quarter leading 47-33. Iran, however, was not ready to let go and went full energy in a desperate attempt to somehow get the decisive win. With the extra effort, Iran got themselves a true crunchtime moment. At 55-53 and 7 seconds to go, Iran sent Germany’s Aliaksandr Halouski to the line. Halouski missed the first free throw, but held it together and scored his second FT to create a very important 3 point lead. Iran returned from their time-out with a play specifically designed for their top scorer, Mohammadhassan Sayari. Unluckily for Iran, Sayari didn’t have his hottest hand today and missed the 3-pointer that would have saved them to overtime. Germany wins 56-53 against Iran and advances to the quarters. Iran on the other hand will play the classification round for 9th – 10th position.

Another highlight of the group stage game awaited wheelchair basketball fans with Australia facing Great Britain. Even though both teams already had sealed their quarter-finals ticket as they went into the game, the game was very relevant to both teams to determine who they would play in the quarters. For GB there was particularly much at stake, a win would mean to finish number 1, whereas a loss would mean finishing fourth (and facing the unbeaten Spanish team). Australia definitely went into the game fresher – with 3 minutes left to halftime they had a 20 point lead (38-18).

GB with the back to the wall managed to finish off the halftime with a 7-0 run cutting their deficit to 13 points (38-25). After halftime, GB continued where they had left off. Winning the third quarter 17-25, they started the fourth quarter trailing by as little as 5 points (55-50). What followed was a suspenseful quarter, which had everyone on the edge of their seats. Carried by their emotional leader and player-coach, Gaz Choudhry, GB displayed a remarkable fighting spirit that allowed them to get the first lead of the game with 1 minute 24 seconds to go (67-68). What followed was crunch time at its best. In the end, it was Gaz Choudhry who brought it home for GB, hitting the wide-open lay-up for the final 69-70 score. His 28 points performance secures GB the 1st place in Group A. 

Algeria versus USA was scheduled as the last game of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Wheelchair Basketball Competition Group stage. Going into the game, Algeria was already confirmed as bottom of the table in Group B, but for USA a win would mean to finish in second place and consequently, to play Turkey in the quarters. As expected, the USA did not hold back and displayed their full potential. At halftime, they had build-up a lead that they would not let go (12-47). With that difference, both teams used the opportunity and played their full squad. For Algeria Bilel Ayache showed the biggest resistance by dropping 13 of the 25 Algerian points. On the US side, Joshua Turek contributed 21 points. In the end, USA wins 25-86

USA finishes Group B in the second position and will play Turkey during Thursday’s quarter-finals. Great Britain will face Canada in the quarters and Australia will have a take on Japan. And Germany will take on their European counterparts Spain.

The quarter-finals line-up is now confirmed for Wednesday 1 September:

12:30 –  USA v Turkey
15:00 – Spain v Germany
18:15 – Great Britain v Canada
20:45 – Japan v Australia

For a full wheelchair basketball schedule and results click here.