With a place at the 2016 Rio Paralympics at stake, both Turkey and Spain came out attacking from the opening tip-off of the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships knockout stage’s first game. Setting a promising precedent for the evening’s quarter-finals action at the Worcester Arena, an exciting first quarter of play finished with a score of 19-14 to Turkey.
With respectable results against heavy hitters Germany and Great Britain in their last two group A matches, Spain were undeterred as underdogs to group B’s top scoring, undefeated champion, Turkey. With raucous support from their bench and their women’s team in the crowd, Spain defended well around the key to hold the game to a 29-20 score in favour of Turkey at half time.
It was more of the same closely contested action after the break, as the two teams came out with an attacking mindset. But now having little problem in finding space to capitalise upon in Turkey’s defense, it was Spain that was the team in ascension.
Outscored by Spain in the third quarter, more tense moments awaited Turkey through a gripping final period of play. With as little as two points separating the teams with under four minutes to go, some key free throws from center Ferit Gumus, forward Cem Gezinci and guard Ozgur Gurbulak allowed Turkey to see their lead through to the final buzzer.
Waiting until late to secure their semi-final place with a final score of 63-54, outstanding performances from Gumus (20 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, Gezinci (14 points, 18 rebounds) and Gurbulak (11 rebounds, 12 assists) were what proved to be the difference for Turkey. Aiming to secure a place for their team in the final teams, the trio from Turkey will now take aim at the semi-final opponent of the Netherlands.
MVP: Ferit Gumus (Turkey)