In a battle of winless squads, Canada rode a 26-point performance from Reed De'Aeth to a 58-56 overtime win over France at the men's under-23 wheelchair basketball world championship.
The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., added 23 rebounds and three assists while Garrett Ostepchuk had 12 points and five assists, with Collin Lalonde contributing six points and four assists.
"You look to the veterans such as Reed and Garrett and Collin – I throw props out to Austin MacLellan today, too," Canada head coach Darrell Nordell told Wheelchair Basketball Canada. "I thought Austin played really well when he came in too. I thought he played really well today and showed some patience."
Reed De'Aeth had a game-high 26 points as Canada edged France 58-56 in overtime to conclude round-robin play at the IWBF Men's U23 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in Phuket, Thailand, on Tuesday.
"It feels really good to get a win, and you can't practice games like that where you have to go to overtime and hold it together and win," said Darrell Nordell, Men's Under-23 Head Coach. "I'm happy for the athletes, they're happy themselves. It's a learning process; we're getting better each game."
Canada will face South Africa in the relegation round on Wednesday at 12 a.m. ET.
"We played them earlier in an exhibition game. They've got a couple of really quick players," Nordell said. "You can't underestimate South Africa. They play every minute, every possession. They gave us a good game in our exhibition game."
France erases 6-point deficit to force OT
Against France, the Canadians shot 39 per cent from the field while holding their opponent to a 33 per cent success rate. Canada also converted one-third of its attempts from three-point range.
In overtime, Ben Hagkull's free throw with 1:37 remaining gave the Canadians a 55-54 lead, and they held off France.
France forced extra time by erasing a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter, outscoring Canada 14-8.
The Canadians opened the second half on a 7-2 run and took a 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but France battled back close to within 42-36 entering the fourth.
Canada fell behind 8-2 early but went on its own 6-2 run to make it a two-point game with 3:56 to play in the first quarter and led 13-11 entering the second. De'Aeth paced Canadian scorers with seven points in the quarter, one more than Ostepchuk.
Canada outscored France 16-13 in the second quarter for a 29-24 halftime advantage.
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. 14 (12 a.m. ET) Canada vs. South Africa, relegation round
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