Gliders prevail in thriller

The Australian Gliders have clinched a thrilling two-point win over Brazil in their opening wheelchair basketball match of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

In a tense match, Australia was able to secure a 52-50 win over their South American opponents, with Western Australian Amber Merritt scoring the winning basket in the dying seconds.

The result was somewhat harsh on the Brazilians, who despite trailing for long periods and shooting at lower percentage, looked threatening at each turn.

They were led superbly by captain Lia Maria Soares Martins, who scored a game-high 27 points, but was unable to get enough support in attack.

Queensland’s Cobi Crispin was prominent at both ends of the court for Australia, shooting 18 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists in a star performance for the Gliders that will give the group a considerable confidence boost ahead of tomorrow’s clash with hosts Great Britain at North Greenwich Arena.

Gliders’ coach John Triscari admitted his side was not at its best, but was pleased his group responded when required.

"For us, that was a danger game because we just didn't know very much about Brazil. We've got some video tapes but I don't know where they were taken. It's hard to work out numbers and stuff like that so for us it was a danger game and we haven't played them for four years now. They're a tough side."

"The chemistry in our team is fantastic. It's good to get a win under your belt and then we'll take it from there. But we didn't play to our maximum today I don't think. We made some mistakes passing the ball, turning the ball over so we've got some improvement to do. We can work on a few things."

Amber Merritt said the team had come to London without any expectation other than to give everything in each match.

"I don't think we can really expect anything. We go into the game playing our basketball game and we go into the game with the determination to win and to pull through so we can keep going on and on, so there's no expectations, it's just playing."

By Chris Abbott

Posted: 30/08/2012