Rollers juggernaut advances to Paralympic QF
The flawless Rollers will face Quarter Final opponent Poland for the opportunity to advance to the medal rounds and continue their quest for back-to-back Paralympic Gold Medals.
With top spot in the group all but assured heading into the game against Italy, coach Ben Ettridge was able to spread the minutes across the entire playing roster with depth amongst the Rollers ranks coming to the fore.
Bret Stibners was the standout on the offensive end, finishing the game with 17 points to go with his 4 rebounds and 4 assists, while Nick Taylor looked lively with 14 points and 4 assists.
The win wasn’t without help from the veteran core, with Brad Ness (11 points 4 rebounds) and Tristan Knowles (10 points 4 assists) ensuring the result was a comfortable one.
It was a slow start from the Rollers with baskets hard to come by in the early exchanges, with the Italians holding a narrow lead with little over three minutes on the clock in the first quarter. A late flourish from the favourites ensured the lead was reversed.
The second quarter exposed the gulf in class between the two teams as the Rollers began to put daylight between them and their opposition. A 9-point quarter from Nick Taylor helped the Rollers to 12-point lead at the main interval, a lead that was never threatened.
Quarter number three saw the game open up and Australia pile on the points (24-17 for the quarter) to take the lead towards 20 points. This target was reached by the final buzzer, giving the Rollers their fifth consecutive win of the tournament.
The Australian Rollers now face Poland in Quarter Final action on Thursday morning at 6:15pm AEST.