GB basketballers on brink of last eight

02 September 2012 / 22:13

Great Britain edged closer to the quarter-finals of the wheelchair basketball tournament as they enjoyed a convincing 87-59 win over Group B rivals Poland.

Britain got off to a hot start and never allowed Poland to recover in their strongest showing yet at the London Paralympics.

The hosts will advance with victory over Japan on Monday. Should they lose that game they can still go through if Germany beat Poland and Britain avoid a heavy defeat to the Japanese.

Britain set the tone early, taking charge of the game in the early going with Terry Bywater making it 10-2 with a steal and breakaway lay-up, before Jon Hall made it a double-digit lead seconds later. A late shot from Bywater made it 22-10 to end the first quarter.

Poland briefly threatened to rally in the second, with Piotr Luszynski making it 26-20, but Britain responded with a 19-4 charge to half-time, heading into the locker room leading 45-24 after a basket from Dan Highcock. Britain had turned 11 first-half turnovers from Poland into 12 points.

There was only a fleeting sign of Poland trying to rally in the third quarter, with a little 8-2 run making it 58-41. But Britain squashed it just as quickly with an 8-0 run and they led 66-41 when Bywater hit a brilliant off-balance shot that swished through the net as the Middlesbrough man tumbled over.

"It was immensely pleasing," coach Murray Treseder said of his team's performance. "We played some stunning basketball, we had a lot of contributors and we played at the tempo we needed to play.

"I had the best seat in the house because that was very pleasing to watch, and I'm sure the crowd will have enjoyed it. I'd like to pay tribute to our workhorses tonight, the guys who don't get a lot of mentions like Matt Byrne, Ade Orogbemi and Abdi Jama, the guys that help the other guys get better because they were amazing tonight."

Bywater once again led the Brits in scoring with 22 points. Ian Sagar and Highcock added 14 points each while Simon Munn had 12 and Hall 10.

"You've got to take your hat off to Terry Bywater," said Pollock. "The guy shoots like a machine. We had a meeting and we said we've just got to let him do what he does best and that's shoot, you don't get him doing anything else. You don't get a dog to act like a cat, do you? That's what he is, he's a dog. Let him play like a dog."