TORONTO – Liam Hickey scored 19 points but it wasn’t enough for Canada in a 58-45 defeat to Japan in a tight quarter-final match at the men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships.
The first half was a low scoring affair, both teams unable to find a way past the other’s defense. Japan held a small two point lead at the end of the first quarter but was able to push away from the Canadians, ending up with an eight point advantage at half.
The teams returned to the court to exchange baskets throughout most of the second half with Canada chipping away at Japan`s lead. It wasn’t until halfway through the fourth quarter, with Canada only trailing by four, that Japan hit their stride and left the Canadians behind after going on a 13 point run.
Japan’s Takuya Furusawa tallied the game-high 21 points and Renshi Choikai secured a double double for Japan with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Canadian contingent was led by Liam Hickey’s 19 points and 14 rebounds for a double double while Ben Moronchuk nearly matched Hickey`s output by contributing 18 points.
“I’m really proud of the guys, they came together and they had an opportunity to win it,” said Canadian assistant coach, Dave Durepos. “We came a little bit short this game and have to give it to Japan, they’re a quick team. This is a great opportunity to grow, they’ll probably always remember this when it’s going to be difficult to go on. We’re looking forward to playing Germany, we played against them just this past month and we did well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Canada faces Germany today June 15 at 3 p.m. ET with fifth spot on the line.