The Australian Men's Wheelchair basketball team, the Rollers, claimed an unbeatable 3-nil lead in the four game international series being played against Great Britain last night after winning game three 69-67 in front of a strong local crowd at the Shellharbour Basketball Stadium.
The Rollers took a 2-nil series lead into last night’s game after strong 75-49 and 65-51 victories in Perth last week but were made to work a lot harder to win the series.
Former Rollers Head Coach Murray Treseder, now Head Coach of Great Britain missed the match due to illness.
“We added six new players last night so to get the win, which we had to work hard for, was great,” Head Coach Ben Ettridge said.
“We are finishing of games a lot better than we were three or four months ago which is pleasing.
“We had our strongest five start the game – Andrew Flavell, Brendan Dowler, Shaun Norris, Justin Eveson and Brad Ness – who got us off to a good start before we tried some combinations before we finished of strongly with those experienced players on the court.”
West Australian forward Justin Eveson scored a game high 31 points in a man of the match performance to lead the Rollers with guard Shaun Norris adding 12 points and captain Brad Ness contributing 10 points in support.
Captain John Pollock scored 21 points to lead Great Britain with forward Simon Munn adding 17 points.
With Eveson and Ness continuing their scintillating tournament form, the Rollers surged to a 26-15 quarter time lead.
To Great Britain's credit they dug deep and outplayed the Rollers in the second term and with brilliant transitional play led by Pollock, Great Britain won the quarter 19-7 to lead 34-33 at halftime.
Following the break, Ettridge called on key starters Eveson and Ness who immediately restored the Rollers inside dominance and with Eveson adding 9 points for the term, the Rollers led 51-47 at three quarter time.
The final quarter turned into a defensive struggle as both teams attempted to gain ascendency and after trading baskets for the majority of the quarter scores were tied at 67-all with a minute remaining.
Through Ness, the Rollers had several attempts to take the lead but missed the opportunities and Great Britain were unable to capitalise until with 20 seconds remaining Ness nailed what would be the match winner.
Great Britain had 14 seconds to take the win after calling a time out but due to excellent defensive pressure from the Rollers, Great Britain were unable to produce a clutch basket.
AUSTRALIA 69 – Eveson 31, Norris 12, Ness 10
GREAT BRITAIN 67 – Pollock 21, Munn 17, Highcock 11