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Fick’s men fight hard
- Updated: November 4, 2010
The French wheelchair basketball team proved exactly why they are the second ranked team in the world with a 2-1 win in their South African tour.
A determined final quarter surge saw them prevail 57-48 in their third and final match against the Sasol South Africa squad.
The two sides started the final game at Mandeville Indoor Stadium in Johannesburg with one win apiece. That after the Sasol SA team had won the first game 72-66 only to see the French level the score with a 64-50 victory in the second game.
In an extremely physical contest, the sides were evenly matched until half time in the third and final game, but then the French team side began piling on the pressure. ÔÇ£We were well and truly beaten in the second half, but all in all, I am still satisfied with how the team performed,ÔÇØ said national coach Patrick Fick. ÔÇ£In the first two quarters we really showed that we can compete and we just have to learn to extend that kind of performance for the whole match.ÔÇØ
The national side led 51-14 after the first quarter but matters swung the way of France in the second and they lead 26-25 at half time. South Africa began the third quarter poorly and could only score five points against the French, who rallied with 17 points.
The final quarter was a particularly scrappy and physical one and the South Africans began chipping away at the deficit. ÔÇ£We managed to score 17 points in the final quarter, but it was a case of too little, too late,ÔÇØ said Fick. ÔÇ£They were able to really pile on the pressure and keep us from closing the door further.ÔÇØ
South Africa scored 17 points in the final quarter but France countered with 14 to stay ahead. The French on the other hand were consistently finding the bottom of the basket, with the industrious Nicolas Jouanserre at the forefront of the visitors’ attacks. The number 10 scored 22 of France’s points, four from the free-throw line and two three-pointers.
ÔÇ£That is the kind of performance we lacked,ÔÇØ said Fick. ÔÇ£While we executed the full court press well, we fell way short in the goal area.ÔÇØ
Marius Papenfus and Jaco Velloen kept the locals in the Test with 10 points each but both were shooting way below par with Papenfus at 26% and Velloen at 33%. Thandile Zonke and Luvuyo Mbande also battled to find their range.
Former national player Kobus Oeschger added nine valuable points on his comeback, including a perfectly executed three-pointer well outside the key.
National captain Marcus Retief was disappointed not to have led the team to victory, but rather than dwell on the team’s shortcomings, he chose to focus on the positive aspects of the test. ÔÇ£We know exactly what and where we need to improve, but it is important to acknowledge the improvement the team has made,ÔÇØ he said.
ÔÇ£Winning one of the three games was an important result for us. Furthermore, we hoped to learn a lot from this Test and that has certainly been the case. We have the confidence now that we can hold our own in an aggressive, physical game, we know we have a very good defensive game and we know we need to work hard at improving our offensive game.
ÔÇ£All in all, I am proud of what the team has achieved and I know we can do a lot better.”
Results of the French internal tour:
Game One: Sasol SA 72 France 66
Game Two: Sasol SA 50 France 64
Game Three: Sasol SA 48 France 57
Leading SA scorers in the final game
10 — Marius Papenfus, Jaco Velloen
9 — Kobus Oeschger, Thandile Zonke
7 — Luvuyo Mbanda