USA dethroned, Men take Gold, Women take Silver
The 2018 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships has just wrapped up in Hamburg, Germany with the GB Men being crowned World Champions and the GB Women taking home silver, reaching a world championship final for the first time.
The women kickstarted their campaign with a win over previous World Champions, Canada in what was a close game throughout with GB just edging ahead in the fourth quarter 64-56. They then went on to face Brazil in what was meant to be their first game of the tournament but had to be rescheduled due to venue work, once again they were the dominant force as Amy Conroy dropped 28 points personal, ending 72-45. They continued to pick up a nine-point win (47-38) over Spain after good team defence managed to shut down Virginia Perez. They put in another solid performance versus Australia where they were a force to be reckoned with as they picked up a 63-38 victory. They ended the pool stages with a loss to the Netherlands 66-41as players like Mariska Beijer and Bo Kramer proving to be unstoppable which meant that GB finished second in their pool.
In the quarterfinals they were up against Paralympic champions, USA and both Helen Freeman (GB) and Rose Hollermann (USA) dropped 23 points each for their respective teams but it was GB who came out on top 70-47. This meant that they faced the home nation, Germany in the semi-finals and GB decided to go out all guns blazing as the co-caption Freeman scored 31 points personal to send her team into a world championship final with a 60-37win.
Going into the final GB gave the Netherlands their all despite the Dutch gaining the early lead, GB reduced the deficit to four points in the third quarter, but the undefeated Netherlands pushed ahead to secure the 56-40 victory. However, despite the loss the GB Women reaching the final was an achievement in and of itself.
On the men’s side of things GB saw out South Korea 77-58with great offensive performances from Gregg Warburton (20pts) and Lee Manning (18pts.) They then suffered a bump in the road to success as they were beaten by seven points by Paralympic champions, USA 66-59 with the US’s Jake Williams scoring 23 points. They finished off their pool stage with an emphatic 78-46 win over Poland with Gregg Warburton dropping 28 points which meant GB finished second in their pool
In the round of 16 knockout stages they face the home nation Germany who finished bottom of their pool. It was a close game throughout as Germany burned with passion in front of a home crowd however, GB’s George Bates was subbed in and scored 21 points in 25 minutes to ensure GB advance to the quarterfinals 62-54. In the quarterfinals GB faced Spain in what was their closest game of the tournament it was close throughout until GB veteran Terry Bywater hit a 3-pointer from downtown in the fourth quarter to swing the momentum in GB’s favour allowing them to pick up a 67-62 win. In the semi-finals GB faced Iran and once again proved they were a top contender as they won 86-63 with Warburton hitting 22pts and Bates hitting 21pts.
This meant that the final was a rematch between GB and USA but this time the outcome differed as GB were victorious 79-62 with Harry Brown and George Bates on 17 points each with phenomenal defence played by the whole squad. GB Men were crowned World Champions for the first time since 1973.
Helen Freeman was a part of the women’s all-star team whilst Gregg Warburton was awarded men’s MVP of the tournament.
Gold: The Netherlands
Silver: Great Britain
Men’s Final Standings:
Gold: Great Britain
10th: The Netherlands
14th: South Korea
All photo credit: British Wheelchair Basketball/ SA Images