The Australian Goannas have started the World Deaf Basketball Championships in perfect fashion, defeating Poland 57-51.
Nerves got the better of the two sides at the beginning of the match but Australia were quicker to settle, opening up an 11-point lead by quarter-time with Lachlan Jackson’s eight rebounds helping to control the tempo.
With Halil Durnaoglu, Paddy Lane and Jake Harwood receiving their first minutes of court time, the Goannas were able to extend their advantage and mid-way through the third term, the lead was at a game high 20 points.
Poland were not to be denied though, slowly clawing their way back into the contest. With some loose passing, the Goannas lead began to diminish and with two minutes remaining, it was just a one-point game.
Coach Brent Reid called a time-out to settle his team down and a determined effort from Mark Bilyj helped get Australia over the line. He was fouled three teams on his way to the basket in the final minute, sinking 3-6 from the free throw line as the Goannas won their first match of the tournament.
Bilyj (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Morgan Williams (11 and 12) were impressive with double-doubles but the monster effort of Lachlan Jackson (16 points, 21 boards) was the game-changer. Jordan Woolmer also chimed in with 11 points and six rebounds.
Australia will next face Greece on July 6 before clashing with the USA on July 7.