Goannas lose heart- stopper to Greece

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The Australian Goannas have fallen in a thriller to Greece at the World Deaf Basketball Championships, losing 58-57.

Australia came out firing from the opening tip, with Morgan Williams and Jordan Woolmer twice knocking down three-pointers in the first quarter. Against a bigger Greece team, Lachlan Jackson held his own under the rim, helping the Goannas to a three-point lead at the first break.

Coming off the bench for some timely shots, Patrick Lane helped keep the score tight for the rest of the first half before Williams broke the deadlock with another long range bomb just before the main break, giving Australia a three-point lead.

A 6-0 run mid-way through the third term finally gave the Goannas some breathing room with Williams, Mark Bilyj and Jackson (on a great pass from Williams) contributing. However, their healthy advantage was short-lived as Greece again challenged, pulling the margin back to three at the final change.

Greece used that momentum to gain a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter as Australia struggled to find their way to the basket. The lead again see-sawed as Bilyj and Jackson  combined for consecutive baskets to give Australia a handy seven-point lead.

Once again, the Greeks were not to be denied though and they drew level with 32 seconds remaining. On Australia’s following possession, Lane connected on one free throw but Greece were successful at the other end of the floor, driving baseline and flicking in an impressive shot to take the lead. The Goannas had one final chance to win the game but the Hail Mary full-court shot did not connect.

In front a local crowd which was recruited by friends and family of the team to chant out Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi, Jackson (16 points, 12 rebounds) led the team with another double-double. Woolmer stuffed the stat-sheet with 15 points, five boards, four assists and three steals while Williams added 10 points and five rebounds.

In their final game of the group stage, Australia will face the USA today before the Quarter-Finals begin on July 9.