Britain's Ian Sagar is blocked by Australian players Shawn Russell and Brad Ness during their quarter-final match in the wheelchair basketball event in Rio.
Britain's Ian Sagar is blocked by Australian players Shawn Russell and Brad Ness during their quarter-final match in the wheelchair basketball event in Rio. Mauro Pimentel

Rollers miss the medals after mental lapses

WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL: Australia's hopes of going one better than its silver medal finish in London in 2012 have been dashed, losing 74-51 in the quarter-finals in Rio to Great Britain.

The Rollers led by as many as seven points in the first half, and took a two-point lead to half-time, but were overpowered after the break to slump out of medal contention.

Australian coach Ben Ettridge was left to lament the second-half fade-out, in particular being outscored 22-6 in the final quarter.

"I thought we came out competitive in the first half. We stuck to our game plan and to be where we were at the half was excellent,” Ettridge said.

"I think we just had one of those mental lapses that we've had in this tournament in the third quarter. All credit to GB, they did a great job but we were far from our best.”

The Rollers - who had lost only to Spain in their five games in the group stage - shot at just 38% from the field, while Great Britain made 49% of its attempts.

"Their defence was good but we've seen tougher along the journey and we just didn't capitalise on our opportunities,” Ettridge said. "But in saying that, they obviously came out and were putting chair on chair and making us shoot that little bit further out.”

Ian Sagar was the top scorer for Great Britain with 26 points, to go with 10 rebounds, with Phil Pratt adding 20 points and 10 boards.

For the Rollers Shaun Norris had 14 points and Tristan Knowles contributed 12, but ultimately it was not enough.

"There's 18 of us that are all feeling the same way and you accept one-18th of the glory when you win a medal and you accept one-18th of the pain when you get defeated,” Ettridge said.

"We know when we play 40 minutes of our best basketball, it's good enough to match anyone. When we play 30 minutes of it - as we've seen against Spain and GB - it's not good enough.”


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