On to the quarterfinals for Canadian men at IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 15, 2023

Colin Higgins scores 22 points in win over Brazil


DUBAI – Colin Higgins scored 22 points to lead Canada to a 69-53 victory over Brazil in the round of 16 men’s competition on Thursday at the IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

With the victory, Canada advances to the quarterfinal and will make a huge improvement on its performance from the 2018 worlds.

“It’s awesome,” said Higgins. ”There’s a lot of good teams here, so to make it to the top-eight, that’s a nice achievement, but we’re not satisfied yet. We know we have a tough opponent tomorrow. Enjoy the moment here, but we’ve got to refocus and reset for tomorrow.”

Nikola Goncin added 14 points for the victors and Garrett Ostepchuk (in photo) chipped in 12. Cristiano Clemente led Brazil with 14.

The Canadians blasted out of the gates building a 13-2 lead in the first five minutes. Brazil never recovered. It was 35-20 at the half and 56-41 after three quarters.

“We still have room for improvement, but we have a little bit more of a balanced attack and balanced scoring,” said Patrick Anderson, who contributed nine points, five rebounds, and three assists in the victory. “Seeing Jonathan Vermette and Vincent Dallaire finishing inside, that’s huge for us. Those are huge, pressure-relieving buckets. That bodes well going forward – getting a little bit more from everybody.”

Canada faces the Netherlands in its quarterfinal Friday at 6:30 a.m. (ET). The Dutch were 10th at the last worlds and did not qualify for the 2020 Paralympics. At the worlds this week, they were 3-0 in the preliminary round and beat Iraq 88-29 in its round of 16 match.

The Dutch are a familiar opponent for the Senior Men’s National Team – the two countries met three times during the Ottawa Invitational in May, with the Netherlands winning a pair of games.

“We know them, they know us – we’re very different teams,” Anderson said. “They have a lot of skill and height. It will be a battle for inches to try to keep them out of the paint and away from the paint and find a way to attack them.”

The Canadian women complete their preliminary round on Friday against unbeaten China at 2 a.m. (ET). They are tied with four other countries in Group B with a 2-2 record. The top-two in each of the four groups advances to the quarterfinals.

Canada’s head coach Marni Abbott-Peter is confident in her troops.

“We just have to go in with energy and have everybody do their job,” said Abbott-Peter. “China is going to be a tough team to beat, for sure, but I definitely think that we have the opportunity to do that if we play well and play together as a team.”

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