An Australian wheelchair basketball young gun has shown his class after a stunning overtime winner sent the Wombats through to the Commonwealth Games gold-medal match and broke English hearts.
Locked at 10-all after regulation time, Australia fell behind early in the extra frame before Lachlin Dalton’s stunning two-pointer sealed a 12-11 victory.
Watch the incredible moment in the video above
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England had the first crack in overtime but Charlie McIntyre’s pass was stolen by Dalton, who immediately returned the favor and had a pass intercepted by his rival.
McIntyre threw it inside for an assist to Lee Manning, putting the hosts up 11-10, but England’s hopes would be dashed by Dalton in the most dramatic circumstances just seconds later.
Spotting an opening as Abderrahim Taghrest scrambled to the two-point arc, Dalton threw out a Hail Mary – and it never looked like missing.
The shot sent Australia through to the final against Canada, while England will face Malaysia to decide the bronze medal.
Dalton broke out into rapturous celebrations with teammates but he moved quickly to console McIntyre.
The Englishman had slumped himself over his chair and was so devastated to lose that the Australian’s kind act of sportsmanship was initially met with a frosty reception.
Dalton persisted, checking on McIntyre once more before the Englishman accepted his handshake.
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The 21-year-old’s game-winner earned huge praise from Australian basketball greats Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal.
“What a shot!!” Gaze wrote.
Heal put it simply: “Clutch.”
Aussie basketballers seek triple gold
Australia will go for gold against Canada in both the men’s and women’s 3×3 wheelchair basketball finals on Tuesday night.
The women’s team had won their semi-final – also against England – earlier on Monday.
Amber Merritt pushed Australia out to an early 4-1 lead, scoring all four points, before Georgia Inglis and Ella Sabljak stretched it to 8-4.
Australia staved off a late fightback to win 8-6, with England to fight for bronze against Scotland.
Meanwhile, Australia’s able-bodied 3×3 basketball teams will also look to secure medals on Tuesday.
The women will first battle New Zealand for bronze before the men take on England in the gold-medal match.
The men’s team is led by six-time NBL champion Jesse Wagstaff, who is eyeing off a unique set of back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medals, and fellow former NBL players Daniel Johnson and Greg Hire.
Wagstaff won the traditional five-a-side competition at Gold Coast 2018, with that sport scrapped in favor of 3×3 for Birmingham 2022.
Wright has spent the last few years on the 3×3 world circuit while also continuing to play five-a-side in the NBL1.
“I cannot wait; I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years, since I found out that 3×3 was going to be in the Commonwealth Games,” the 33-year-old said.
“This is it – one more sleep. It’s a hell of a sport, so fast-paced and fun. You get to travel and go to war with a couple of close mates.
“I had played five-v-five my whole life for 20 years, and then this came around. It gave me a new lease of life and reignited my passion for basketball.”
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– with APA