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England pip Aussies for 3×3 gold

A last-ditch bucket from a Birmingham local has left Australia’s men’s 3×3 basketball team’s hopes of Commonwealth Games gold in tatters in a frantic 17-16 overtime defeat.

With Australia leading 16-15, Daniel Johnson missed a shot to seal the win before England’s Myles Hesson drained a two-pointer to snatch victory.

“Sometimes that’s the way sport goes,” Australia’s Jesse Wagstaff told reporters.

“DJ had that shot and it was very close to going in. It goes out and they hit one.

“That’s the way sport goes and sometimes you’ve got to eat it.”

Johnson scored seven points, Tom Wright had five and Wagstaff sank four while Greg Hire battled hard through a torn groin.

The 3×3 basketball arena at Smithfield was like a cauldron thanks to a parochial local crowd.

Both teams hit their six-foul penalty limit and at game’s end – Australia had 11 fouls to England’s nine.

Hire suggested the referee had stopped calling fouls in the hectic final minutes.

“That’s the reason we love it,” Hire told reporters.

“It’s not traditional five on five. It is tough.

“Obviously the ref swallowed their whistle towards the end of the game, which is a shame.”

The loss ended Wagstaff’s hopes of claiming back-to-back golds in different basketball disciplines, after he was a part of the Boomers team that triumphed on the Gold Coast.

Earlier, Australia’s men’s 3×3 wheelchair basketball team of Lachlin Dalton, Luke Pople, Jake Kavanagh and Kurt Thomson claimed gold with a dramatic 11-9 victory over Canada.

Dalton was the key playmaker with four points, earning him the nickname ‘The King Slayer’ from the commentator, while Pople top-scored with six.

“It’s so surreal – we’re taking gold home,” Pople told reporters.

“The King Slayer? That sounds good to me.

“He’s been awesome all tournament. He’s the guy that gets the team up and about and he gets big shots.”

The game was on a knife’s edge until, with Australia leading 6-5, Dalton turned up the heat, sinking a long-range effort to extend the lead to three.

Canada pulled off a dramatic comeback to level scores at 8-8 before Pople sank three consecutive buckets to seal victory.

It wasn’t such a great night for Australia’s women’s wheelchair 3×3 team, who were well beaten 14-4 by Canada in their gold medal match.

“Silver feels pretty good but I think gold would have felt a lot better,” Australia’s Amber Merritt said.

Earlier, the women’s 3×3 basketball team claimed bronze with Marina Whittle scoring nine points in a 15-13 win over New Zealand.

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