Anderson leads Canada to silver medal

Led by Fergus native Patrick Anderson, the Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team went undefeated on its way to the Paralympic finals on Tuesday.

But the team ran into a determined Australia team and lost 72-60, failing to make history. The number one ranked team, Canada was attempting to become the first ever to capture three consecutive Para­lympic gold medals (it previously won in Sydney in 2000 and in  Athens in 2004).

But it was not to be on Tuesday, in a game that had six lead changes and saw Ander­son register game-highs in points (22) and rebounds (12), plus a team leading six assists.

Through eight matches Anderson averaged 20 points  and 12 rebounds per game.

Canada led the final by four points at half time, but the Aussies rallied in the second half, outscoring the Canadians by 16 points. Canada was dominated from close range, scoring just 24 points in the paint versus 44 by Australia.

“I’ve never won a silver medal or lost the gold. It’s weird losing the last game of the tournament,” Anderson told the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association after the game (

“This team has had a really good run. The Aussies have been there and been close and knocking on the door for a long time. Maybe it was a matter of time before they had their due.”

Perhaps the most exciting game of the tournament was Canada’s previous game, a semi-final match versus long-time rivals, the United States.

Just prior to leaving for China, Anderson identified the Americans as Team Canada’s main competition – along with the Australians. The Americans had defeated Canada the last three times the teams had met, and Anderson told the Ad­vertiser, “It’s impossible to simulate their speed and athleticism in practice.”

And early on the semi-final game it looked like those attributes would lead the Am­ericans to victory.

“The U.S. came out with all guns blazing,” Anderson said on his blog, available at “They were hitting shots and they were disrupting our offense.”

The Canadians trailed by 12 points at half time, but began an impressive comeback in the second half, reducing the deficit to eight points by the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth, Canada continued its comeback but looked to be on the losing end, as the Americans made the score 49-46 with just three seconds remaining.

But Anderson, widely re­garded as the most talented player in the world, somehow remained calm and sunk a three pointer to end regulation play in a 49-49 tie.

One five minute overtime period changed nothing, as the score remained tied 57-57. But in the second overtime period, with three Americans fouled out of the game, Canada pulled away, eventually winning by a final score of 69-62.

Anderson scored a tournament high 33 points, and added 21 rebounds and six assists, but after the game he had mixed emotions. He said he made “a few of the biggest shots of my career” but he was also disappointed with several turnovers he made.

“I guess we did just enough to win,” he said on his blog.

Anderson was unavailable for comment by press time.