Check in with our Emerging Rollers at the 7th Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Dubai.
By Leigh Gooding
It was a good eye opener for our young squad taking on the grown men from Morocco and getting a few quick lessons.
We started the game well and controlled the first quarter and then through substitutions and rotations and the Moroccans settling down, we were playing catch-up early in the second quarter.
Our young squad struggled to contain the quick Moroccan smalls and our transition defence left plenty of holes for their big players to find great position in close to the basket.
Apart from the first quarter we were struggling to keep in touch in the other three quarters, and really battled with the quick transition offence of the Moroccan lads.
Their big man in Maataoui Rida did the scoring damage on our smaller boys, getting off on us for 22 points and causing us all sort of headaches under the basket.
Zouhair Challat chipped in for Morocco with 15 points to help support Rida as the game’s top scorers.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne (10 points) and Matt McShane (8 points) kept our score board ticking over early on, but once we gave those guys some rest, the younger guys were found to be a bit off the pace in their first international.
It is a great learning experience for our eight international rookies, with only four players in our line-up having played a competitive game of Wheelchair basketball away from home soil.
Joshua Allison, Damon Fent and Tim Markcrow chipped in for 4 points each, and for some of our low pointers that was a good start for them.
We will have a massive challenge tomorrow against Egypt, as they went down in a high scoring affair to Thailand 85 to 83, where two of the Thai’s combined for 75 points between them.
The Egyptians were probably a bit unlucky in that loss, so will be fired up to take on our young group and get back in the winner’s circle.
We have ended up in the tough pool here, however it will be a great experience for our group playing against men and getting some tough physical competition for five days.
Final score Morocco 63 defeated Australia 39.
1Q AUS 14 – 11
2Q AUS 7 – 16
3Q AUS 12 – 21
4Q AUS 6 – 15
You can watch games streamed live here on YouTube.