Canada’s wheel­chair bas­ket­ball squads on track for the worlds

Montreal Gazette - - SPORTS - PAT HICKEY ph­ickey@post­media.com

Cana­dian women and men have qual­i­fied for the 2018 wheel­chair bas­ket­ball world cham­pi­onships af­ter strong show­ings at the Amer­i­cas Cup qual­i­fy­ing event in Cali, Colom­bia.

The Cana­dian women wrapped up a per­fect week by de­feat­ing the U.S. 82-56 in the fi­nal Tuesday night. The Amer­i­cans were the Rio Par­a­lympic cham­pi­ons. It was Canada’s sec­ond win in a week over the U.S. squad and it es­tab­lishes Canada as one of the favourites to de­fend the world ti­tle it won in 2014.

Cap­tain Cindy Ouel­let of Que­bec City, who has put her doc­toral stud­ies in biomechanical engi­neer­ing on hold to play for Canada and pro­mote Par­a­lympic sports, led Canada with 35 points, while Arinn Young of Le­gal, Alta., had 15 points and seven re­bounds. Rosalie Lalonde of St-Clet and Kady Dan­de­neau of Pen­der Is­land, B.C., each scored 11.

The Cana­dian men came up short in their fi­nal against the U.S., drop­ping a 54-50 de­ci­sion Wed­nes­day, but they had pre­vi­ously qual­i­fied for the world cham­pi­onships by reach­ing the semi­fi­nals. Canada fin­ished the tour­na­ment with a 6-1 record, while the U.S. was un­beaten in seven games.

Pa­trick An­der­son, a wheel­chair bas­ket­ball leg­end who re­turned to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion af­ter a five-year ab­sence, led Canada with 23 points, while Nikola Goncin added 11. Steve Spe­rio led the U.S. with 22 points and Ja­cob Wil­liams had 11.

LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Team Canada at the IWBF Women’s Amer­i­can Cup of Wheel­chair Bas­ket­ball in Cali, Colom­bia. Canada won the tour­na­ment, the United States was sec­ond and Brazil third.

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