The Australian Rollers have won their third consecutive game but the Australian Gliders lost to China at the AOZ qualifying tournament as both teams fight for a spot in the 2016 Paralympics.

The Rollers were never bothered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, winning every quarter on their way to a 91-20 trouncing.

Although the opposition were able to match Australia with size in the front, the Rollers skills proved to be a cut above as they jumped out to a 22-6 lead at quarter-time behind some excellent defence from their starters.

With coach Ben Ettridge aware of the demands of a week-long tournament, he looked to his bench to maintain the intensity once the starters had done their job.

The match continued in similar fashion on the back of 22-2 and 23-3 second and third terms before Saudi Arabia almost doubled their total in a more competitive 24-9 final quarter.

Adam Deans stuffed the stat-sheet with 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists while Brad Ness (14 points), Bill Latham (13 points) and Shawn Russell (13 points, six boards, five assists) also reached double-figures.

After a strong showing against Japan in their first game, the Gliders were unable to overcome a slow start against China, losing 39-44.

The Australian’s first-quarter defence was rock solid, holding their opposition to just ten points but they were unable to find the rhythm at the other end of the floor, scoring just four themselves.

A 10-2 run from the Chinese to end the opening half broke the game open but Leanne Del Toso (eight points) was not to be denied, reducing a 12-point margin back to six at three-quarter time.

Australia then threatened to pull off the miracle comeback, getting within three points in the final minutes thanks to the efforts of Amber Merritt (11 points) and Clare Nott (10 points) but the comeback fell just short.

With one more game against Japan and China to come in their pool matches, the second encounter between these sides could decide top spot. Both the Gliders and Rollers play again this afternoon (against Japan and Philippines respectively).

By Basketball Australia

Posted: 13/10/2015