Emerging Rollers battle hard against a big Egypt line-up going down 79 to 49 at the 7th Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Dubai.
By Leigh Gooding
The Rollers emerging group had what looked like a good start going in the first quarter with the two bigs in Fulwood and Elliott both getting good early looks inside the key. However, from that point the offence dried up a little and the big Egyptian front line took over to lead 20-7 at the end of the first quarter.
It was going to be a tough battle, with both Ashraf Abouzied Mohamed Amar (22 points) and Ahmed Fathy Saad (15 points) controlling the first half with a clear size advantage.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Child was the best for the young Rollers early on the offensive, showing some poise and picking up 4 quick points.
The young Emerging Rollers group put up a better fight in the second half, and through changing the defence to a full court press, they started to create turnovers and worry the opposition.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne (9 points), Tim Markcrow (6 points) and Matt McShane did a good job of disrupting the Egyptian ball handlers in the full-court and started to create some easier offensive opportunities.
A few small windows of poor decision-making and passing created some easy fast break opportunities for the Egyptian team, which made the young Rollers pay and took the pressure off when needed.
The size of the opposition continued to worry the Emerging Rollers line-up, however young big man Jake Fulwood took on the challenge in the second half and led the scoring for the Australian line-up with 16 hard-earned points in the paint.
Brian Carminati in only his second international stepped up to assist, grabbing 6 points in the second half to support Fulwood while making some nice plays off the pass.
The Emerging Rollers finish pool A play tomorrow against a much-improved and undefeated Thailand line-up, that took Morocco today by 66 to 61 to round out Pool A play for today.
The Thai line-up have two key forwards averaging 39.5 points and 21.0 ppg each, and will test our young big men throughout tomorrow’s contest.
The young Australian group is looking forward to improving and taking on this new challenge.
1Q AUS 7 – 20
2Q AUS 10 – 19
3Q AUS 13 – 19
4Q AUS 10 – 21