BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The United States won the wheelchair basketball championship while Canada claimed the rugby title at the 2008 North American Cup at Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site.
In basketball, the United States took on Canada and trailed for the majority of the game. At halftime Canada led by 4 points, 33-29. The offense went cold in the third period and Canada took a 6-point lead into the final period. But the U.S. came back strong and shot the ball well to win by a final score of 63-58. United States head coach Steve Wilson said, "it was a chess game today when it came to speed on the court and we tried to be aggressive in the fourth period." Wilson added that, "the win gives us a glimpse of how good we can be and this was a confidence boost for our guys."
On the rugby court, it was a heartbreaker for the United States. With only one minute left the U.S. led 31-30, but with less than one second Canada scored to tie the game at 31-31. In the overtime period Canada held on to the ball and with three seconds left, scored the winning point for a final score of 32-31. "The U.S. team likes a fast game, we like to play a defensive, slow game", said Canada head coach Benoit Labrecque. United States head coach James Gumbert said, "we played a quality opponent and they deserve to be congratulated." Gumbert added, "our team gave everything they had and I'm proud of their effort this weekend."
The tournament was a tune-up for the Paralympic Games in Beijing. The teams will now turn their focus toward preparing for that event coming up in September.