The Australian Rollers have continued their winning streak at the 2019 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Asia-Oceania Championships, defeating Iran by 23 points.

The Rollers were heading into the game ready to compete with Iran, who had previously defeated them in Japan in August.

The first quarter had both teams play at a high speed. Shaun Norris was the standout in the quarter, collecting eight points and providing the outside shooting that gave the Rollers a four-point lead heading into the second quarter.

The Australians displayed early dominance after the first break, starting with a zero to six scoring run thanks to impressive plays from both Tom O’Neill-Thorne and Bill Latham. The Rollers played tough defence, which caused frustration among the Iran team. The efforts of the Australians showed on the scoreboard, and they head into the half-time break with an 11-point lead.

The third quarter was a relentless battle between the defence of both teams. Kim Robins’ speed alongside O’Neill-Thorne’s mid-range shots put them in a good position at the final break with a 15-point lead. Luke Pople and Matt McShane both played their roles with full-court pressure defence.

Leading 58-43 in the final term, the Australians fought hard to keep this lead, subbing in CJ McCarthy-Grogan, Brett Stibners and Michael Auprince, which pushed the margin out to 20 points with only minutes of play left. When the final siren sounded, the Rollers secured their third win in Thailand at 78-55.

Norris, O’Neill-Thorne and Robins were the standouts on the day, with O’Neill-Thorne collecting a team-high 18 points and eight assists.

Head Coach Craig Friday said that it was a great turn-up from the Rollers after their disappointing loss to Iran in August.

“They challenged our guys, but we got in a good push,” Friday said.

“To show what we have put into our system and to demonstrate that it is accountable at the international level is really rewarding.”

Results – 2019 IWBF Asia-Oceania Championships
Game 3 First Quarter Half-time Third Quarter Full-time
Australia 14 39 58 78
Iran 18 28 43 55

By Basketball Australia
Posted: 03/12/2019
Photo with thanks to MSSP Michael Schwartz / Uli Gasper