United States men produced an incredible game of tactics and defence to pip Great Britain by just one point 67-66 in a nail-biting final at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships on Tuesday evening.
With the win, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions USA also avenged their 2018 Worlds loss to Great Britain and became the world champions for the seventh time, the maximum by any team in a world championship, at the World Trade Centre Halls in Dubai, UAE.
Down 32-43 at half-time, USA made some adjustments and returned to the match with some renewed energy and strong defence. At the third quarter, they led by one joint only to maintain that lead. Meanwhile, they pressed on Great Britain’s offence, hardly allowing them to score. The final quarter was an even show.
Brian Bell top scored for the USA with 18 points, while Trévon Jenifer and Steve Serio contributed with 16 points. Gregg Warburton’s 24 was the top score in the match but still wasn’t enough to take Great Britain through. He, however, made it to the Men’s All-Stars team alongside teammate Philip Pratt.
USA’s Steve Serio, whose final campaign was laced by three 3-pointers, said:
“Great Britain were the defending champions, and we knew it was coming down to the last minute. We are just so fortunate to come out with a victory and we are so proud of our team.
“The best part of our team is our resilience. The ability to play our best when the game gets the hardest. We were down at half-time; we made some adjustments. Our coach did a great job of making those adjustments and putting us in a position to be successful. And, the athletes responded well.”
USA’s Head coach Robert Taylor highlighted it was USA’s defence again that stepped up when needed.
“We just tried to keep pace with Great Britain; stuck to the gameplan. Like I said before, we trust each other. Even if we were down, we believed in each other, in our style and system and we believed that we could come back at any point.”
“I’m just speechless,” said an ecstatic USA coach adding that their focus is on the Parapan American Games next.
Text Credit: Priyanka Sharma / DCD
Pictures Credit: Mark Madrid / Essa Yahya / DCD