Emerging Rollers defeat Iraq in Gold Medal Game
The Emerging Australian Rollers team have defeated Iraq in the Gold Medal game of the Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament yesterday, taking the hard-fought win 67-60.
Once again Adam Deans came out firing and scored the first eight points of the game, easily able to break through the key, receiving some great passes from his team-mates. The first quarter went basket for basket as each team was striving to prove their dominance early in the game. The score at quarter time was 18-16.
The second quarter was intense with Iraq taking a slim one-point lead three minutes into the term. Iraq’s main scorer, Raad Al Khafagi, proved problematic for the Aussies shooting from all over the floor and making some critical buckets at crucial moments. Australia were able to grind out the rest of the quarter playing with intensity at the defensive end and poise on offense. The Iraq team had a one point lead going into the major break 30-29.
The second half saw the Aussies mix up their defense, playing some full court man-on-man pressure and this unsettled Iraq with several steals turning into made lay-ups. Australia took a small three-point lead with a minute and a half to go in the quarter before finishing this quarter ahead 50-43.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Iraq came out with all guns blazing and went on a 10-6 run, making the score 56-53 with six and a half minutes to go. To Australia’s credit they regrouped and played the intense defense they showed during the week that they are capable of playing.
The game went basket for basket, when, with 1 minute and 20 seconds to go, Australia took a three-point lead and never looked back as they continued to build on this. This emerging group of Rollers showed they are more than capable of playing under intense pressure making crucial decisions at the appropriate times and taking the game 67-60 at the final siren to win the Gold Medal.
Coach Gould was happy with the team’s performance throughout the week and especially their efforts in today’s Gold Medal game.
“This young group of players have a huge future in this game, and have shown that the Rollers program has the ability to continue their dominance for many years to come,” he said.
Also returning yesterday from their camp in Varese, Italy was the senior Rollers team, who defeated Spain 3-0 in a series of games. They also played at the Easter Tournament in Belgium, where the side faced off with Canada, Netherlands, South Africa and Italy, the team defeating all opponents except Canada, succumbing narrowly 54-48.
The great results shows some very positive signs for the 26 players within the Australian Rollers Wheelchair Basketball program, making things tough for selectors as the 2012 London Paralympics approaches. The next big event on the Rollers’ calendar is the Rollers World Challenge, which is to be held in Sydney 17-21 July.
Rollers top scorers vs Iraq: Adam Deans (35 points), Michael D’Amelio (13 points), CJ Grogan (12 points)
EMERGING AUSTRALIAN ROLLERS TEAM: 2012 FAZZA INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Bailey Rowland, Brisbane/Qld Sprinning Bullets
Timothy Markcrow, ACT/Wollongong Roller Hawks
Michael D’Amelio, Melbourne/Dandenong Rangers
Jordan Bartley, Brisbane/Qld Spinning Bullets
Tom O’Neill –Thorne, Darwin/Qld. Spinning Bullets
CJ Grogan, Darwin/Sydney Uni Wheelkings
Colin Smith, NSW/Wollongong Roller Hawks
Keegan OhChee, Sydney/Sydney Uni Wheelkings
Jake Kavanagh, Perth/Perth Wheelcats
Adam Deans, Perth/Perth Wheelcats
Kayl Jeffery, Perth/Perth Wheelcats
Nick Radovich, Perth/Perth Wheelcats
Head Coach: David Gould, Adelaide
Asst. Coach: Sonia Healy, Sydney
Manager: Pablo Jimenez, Wollongong
Physio: Ryan Campbell, Perth
Referee: Rod Hislop, Perth