Canadian men drop U23 wheelchair basketball worlds finale to France

·2 min read
A Canadian player takes a shot during the team's 62-33 loss to France during the ninth-place seeding game at the men's under-23 wheelchair basketball world championship on Thursday in Phuket, Thailand. (Shingo ITO X-1 via @_IWBF/Twitter - image credit)
A Canadian player takes a shot during the team's 62-33 loss to France during the ninth-place seeding game at the men's under-23 wheelchair basketball world championship on Thursday in Phuket, Thailand. (Shingo ITO X-1 via @_IWBF/Twitter - image credit)

Canada fell 62-33 to France in its final game at the men's under-23 wheelchair basketball world championships on Thursday in Phuket, Thailand.

The loss means Canada finishes the tournament 10th overall. Its lone win in group play came in a two-point overtime win against France.

But the French turned the tables in the rematch, racing to a 16-point first-quarter lead and never looking back.

"They executed their game plan, and we didn't execute the game plan we wanted," said Canada's head coach Darrell Nordell. "We didn't have our transition going, we weren't finding the mismatches out there, and then we were shooting early in the shot clock when we talked about having higher percentage shots and working the ball closer to the key."

Josh Brown led Canada with eight points and added five rebounds. Reed De'Aeth contributed six points and 13 rebounds.

Canada made just 15 of its 60 field-goal attempts, while France shot 38 per cent.

"France came out wanting to win and to play us hard," Nordell said. "We didn't come out and execute. It starts with preparation. That's why we have junior events like this: so that our athletes can learn how to prepare with regard to sleep, hydration, nutrition and mental preparation."

Despite the 10th-place finish, Nordell said it was a successful tournament.

"I'm glad we came. Opportunities like this come only every four years. We just need to find more opportunities for our athletes to get reps," he said.

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.

Player 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