Rollers storm into World Semi Finals

Rollers storm into World Semi Finals

The Australian Men's Wheelchair Basketball team, the Rollers, pounded Poland 68-34 in their Quarter Final to advance to the Semi Finals at the 2010 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships overnight in Birmingham, England.

In their Semi Final the Rollers will play the USA at 1.30am AEST Friday July 16. The USA defeated Turkey to advance to the semis while Italy and France will contest the second Semi Final after upsetting defending champion Canada and host nation Great Britain in their Quarter Finals. 

Brett Stibners had a 12-point second half to lead the Australians with 14 points on 7-of-12 from the field at 58 percent, to go with six rebounds and three assists. Tristan Knowles, Justin Eveson and Shaun Norris also finished in double figures with 13, 12 and 11 points respectively.

After an impressive opening half from Poland, the Rollers blew them off the court in the final two periods.

Knowles said, “The halftime scoreline was not where we were hoping to be against Poland, but we knew if we stuck to our processes for the full 40 minutes we would wear them down. It was a great team effort.”

Poland’s accuracy in the first quarter kept them in the game, matching it with the Australians at 14-all at the first break.

Piotr Luszynski was the go-to player for Poland in the opening half, he had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists to halftime. But was shut down in the second half to finish with 15 points.

Both teams ended the first half shooting at 39 percent from the field but the Australians were winning the rebound count 19-14, allowing them to establish a small lead at the long break, 25-22. Despite their three-point advantage, the Rollers were not able to outmuscle Poland in the paint.

The Australians made an 10-2 start in the third term, forcing Poland into a timeout as Luszynski was awarded his third foul.

The Rollers full court pressure held up Poland, forcing them into turnovers and keeping Luszynski to just two points in the quarter, allowing the Aussies to break away to a 16-point lead, 46-30.

The fourth quarter was all the Australians’ way, running away to the 34-point victory and a place in the Semi Finals.

You can follow the finals with a live video feed and LIVESTATS on the Tournament Website.

[Box Score]

Quarter by quarter:

1: AUS 14 POL 14
H: AUS 25 POL 22     (11-8)
3: AUS 46 POL 30     (21-8)
F: AUS 68 POL 34     (22-4)

AUSTRALIA 68 (B Stibners 14, T Knowles 13, J Eveson 12) def
POLAND 34 (P Luszynski 15, M Filipski 9, K Bandura 6)
At National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, England