In a stunning display of prowess, the USA men’s wheelchair basketball team mirrored their female counterparts’ success, claiming another gold medal and cementing their status as the reigning Paralympic, World, and Zonal champions. The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games final against Colombia was nothing short of a spectacle display, with the USA sealing an 81-45 victory.
The triumph not only added another gold to their impressive title collection but also earned them a coveted spot at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. With it only being Colombia’s second time in the final, nerves seemed to affect their performance in the opening quarter, allowing the USA to power to a commanding 26-7 lead. While Colombia showed resilience, winning the second quarter 20-19, the USA’s earlier dominance proved insurmountable.
The USA, showcasing their world champion caliber, shot at an impressive 71% for the game, proving unstoppable and extending their lead further in the third quarter by 34 points. The dynamic duo of Steve Serio and Jake Williams contributed significantly, with 23 and 24 points, respectively. Jhon Hernandez led the scoring for Colombia with 14 points.
Bronze Medal Games: Argentina vs Canada
In a nail-biting bronze medal game, Argentina and Canada battled not just for the medal but also to keep their Paris 2024 Paralympic Games hopes alive. Canada, having won their previous encounter in the group stages, held the upper hand, while Argentina sought redemption.
A slow start from Argentina allowed Canada to surge to a 10-2 lead, but Argentina, refusing to back down, chipped away throughout the first half, taking a one-point lead into halftime, 28-27. The intensity continued in the second half, with both teams neck and neck until three minutes to go. Costly turnovers for Argentina proved pivotal, and Canada capitalized, breaking Argentina’s hearts with a 70-62 victory.
Colin Higgins delivered a stellar performance for Canada with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 11 assists, complemented by a standout performance from Argentina’s Maximiliano Ruggeri, who led all scorers with 23 points.
While Canada celebrates their bronze, their journey is not over. They will compete for a last chance to qualify for Paris 2024 in the 2024 IWBF Men’s Repechage in Antibes, France, in April 2024.
Photo Credit: Sebastian Nanco/ Parapanamericanos Stgo 2023 via Photosport