The P.E.I. Mustangs split their two games Friday at the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League open finals at UPEI.
The host squad dropped the opening game of the eight-team tournament to the defending champs, the Variety Village Rebels, 72-48 before rebounding for a 68-52 victory against Saskatchewan’s Club ’99.
“It’s exciting,” Abby Stubbert said after the victory. “I think we’re doing better than we anticipated, or gave ourselves credit for, because we’re a good team, but we’re a young team.”
The game was close in the first half with the Saskatchewan squad winning the first quarter 17-14 before the Mustangs took a 28-27 lead into halftime.
“It takes us a while to warm up sometimes,” Stubbert said.
“It was a great game, a good matchup for us,” she added. “It was a lot of fun, a good win.”
Adam Loo led the Mustangs with 34 points while Jeremy Watts and Stephen Farquharson each added 10. Clary Stubbert had six points, eight rebounds and five assists for the home team.
Blaine Hancock replied with 26 points for Club ’99.
In the opener, the Rebels jumped out to an early 22-8 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
“We came out flat,” Loo explained. “This is first time some of (our) guys have been in a national championship.”
The Mustangs won the second quarter by three points, but were outscored by the experienced Rebels 25-2 in the third. P.E.I. outscored the Ontario team 19-9 in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough.
“They’re always a tough, tough team,” Loo said. “We’re not disappointed, we played well.”
With a few different lineups on the floor, he said, it was good to build some chemistry for later in the tournament.
Farquharson led the Mustangs with 17 points while Clary Stubbert scored 11 points. Loo and Watts each had eight and Abby Stubbert added four.
Dayton Sopha led the way for the Rebels with 31 points while Mor Peretz added 28
Action resumes today starting at 8:30 a.m. with the semifinals slated for 4 and 4:30 p.m.
The Mustangs complete the round robin portion of the championship this morning at 8:30 a.m. against Laval (2-0).
“We’re just looking forward to tomorrow and continuing the momentum that we have,” Abby Stubbert said Friday night.
The bronze medal game is slated for Sunday at 10 a.m. and the championship game is scheduled for noon.
While there was a small crowd for the morning game, Abby Stubbert said there were many more for the afternoon contest.
“I think they were all cheering for us,” she said. “It’s an amazing experience . . . We always say it’s the sixth man.”