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South Africa gets first win in men's wheelchair basketball
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16:03, September 10, 2008

Winless in their first three matches of the Paralympic tournament, South Africa notched their first victory by defeating Sweden 64-58 in men's wheelchair basketball preliminary on Wednesday at the National Indoor Stadium.

South Africa poured on the offence in the fourth quarter, in which they outscored Sweden 26-16. Forward Richard Nortje was the game's leading scorer with 26 points, and was one of the four South African players who scored in double digit.

"The score was rather close during the first two quarters. We lost the third quarter, which I hoped we could win. In the last quarter we managed to do well and finally won the match because our players believed in themselves and had high spirit to fight for South Africa," said South African coach Vivian Sierra.

"The Swedish team also did a good job. They imposed a lot of pressure on us. The match was fantastic.

"Yesterday, we planned our strategies against Sweden and Japan. Hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow, and we will try."

Sweden missed a couple of key shots in the last minute of play, which prevented them from closing in on South Africa before the clock ran out. A pair of successful free throws in the final seconds of the game assured South Africa of their six-point victory.

"This was a massive game for us," said Sweden's coach Ines Lopes.

"We looked on this match as an easy match, but we showed a lot of nerves today, especially in the last quarter," he added.

"We tried to battle the two big boys out of the game, but it proved to be very difficult."

South Africa are 1-3 and Sweden are 1-3 after four preliminary games.

Both teams will play their fifth group A game on Thursday. Sweden plays Germany at the National Indoor Stadium, and South Africa takes on Japan at USTB Gymnasium.

Source: Xinhua

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