Canada falls to Spain for 2nd loss at men's U23 wheelchair basketball worlds

·2 min read
A Canadian player dribbles the ball during his team's 83-38 loss to Spain at the U23 men's wheelchair basketball world championship on Friday in Phuket, Thailand. (@WCBballCanada/Twitter - image credit)
A Canadian player dribbles the ball during his team's 83-38 loss to Spain at the U23 men's wheelchair basketball world championship on Friday in Phuket, Thailand. (@WCBballCanada/Twitter - image credit)

Canada fell to 0-2 with an 83-38 loss to Spain at the men's under-23 wheelchair basketball world championship on Friday in Thailand.

Garrett Ostepchuk, one of two holdovers from the 2017 team that placed sixth in Toronto, paced Canada with 11 points. Ben Hagkull added eight. Head coach Darrell Nordell said both provided crucial leadership.

"They played a lot of minutes, and they held themselves in control. They were doing some positive things out there, not only to help themselves but to help their teammates, especially the young kids we have on the team," Nordell said.

The Canadians fell behind right from the tip, with Spain scoring the first eight points and racing to a 26-11 lead after one quarter of play in which Hagkull recorded six of his points.

Spain also opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run, eventually stretching its advantage to 24 points by halftime.

Canada shot 17 of 56 from the field, including one of seven from three-point range. Spain made 40 of its 85 field-goal attempts.

"I thought the athletes did a great job emotionally when they knew they were going into a game like this and how tough it would be," Nordell said. "The bench was great. One of our goals was to limit the number of turnovers compared to the game we had against Brazil, and we did do that."

Canada next plays Japan on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

"We're expecting a really fast team. Not as tall a team, but quick and in sync with each other. Transition is going to be important for us," Nordell said.

Canada previously dropped its opener 59-39 against Brazil.

The tournament is typically held every four years, but the 2021 edition was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada last reached the podium in 2001, its second straight gold medal after the inaugural tournament in 1997.

Canada's remaining schedule

  • Sept. 10 (10:30 p.m. ET) Canada vs. Japan

  • Sept. 12 (12:45 a.m. ET) Canada vs. Turkey

  • Sept. 13 (3 a.m. ET) Canada vs. France

Canada's roster

  • Reed De'Aeth — Sherwood Park, Alta.

  • Collin Lalonde — St-Clet, Que.

  • Lionel Tamoki — Montreal

  • Gabriel Giguere — Drummondville, Que.

  • Austin MacLellan — Fredericton, N.B.

  • Josh Brown — East St. Paul, Man.

  • Ben Hagkull — Chilliwack, B.C.

  • Garrett Ostepchuk — Regina

  • Matthew Norris — Winnipeg

  • Mathew Wilton — Langley, B.C.

  • Joel Ewart — Prince George, B.C.

  • Kyrell Sopotyk — Saskatoon