SEMI-FINAL – AUS v IRI
The Australian Rollers have defeated Iran by 12 points in the AOZ Championship semi-final to secure themselves a spot in the gold medal match later today.
The first quarter was a physical encounter, with each team extending their defence and increasing their chair contact. Shaun Norris was making an early offensive impact. The speed was elite from both teams and the post-up shooting from the Iran side was impressive and hard to guard. The Rollers lead 20-17 at the end of first quarter.
The second was a very similar battle from both teams with Clarence ‘CJ’ McCarthy-Grogan bringing impact off the bench to the contest with a quick fire seven points. Norris was still making an impact in offence, with the likes of Luke Pople, Jannik Blair and Billy Latham supporting. The Rollers won the quarter 20-18 setting up a five-point margin at half time.
Iran stepped up in the third quarter with the Rollers finding it tough on the offensive and scoring support proved to be challenging. Australian lead 56-52 at the last break with intentional fouls and technical fouls being handed out in a physical battle between the two tough teams.
With five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Rollers had pushed out their lead to a 12-point margin via very disciplined defence and Tom O’Neill-Thorne making an impact.
Norris ‘the Wizard’ was still setting the pace with 23 points to his name with Tommy ‘Gun’ chipping in with 21 points. Latham returned to the court with four fouls to rest CJ McCarthy-Grogan and help close this big show out, with two minutes to go there was a 10-point margin. The Australian men took the semi-final 77-65 in a hard-fought battle.
The Rollers will now compete for a gold medal against Korea at 6:30pm (ADST). You can watch the game live via IWBF’s YouTube channel.