Nathan McCabe’s dramatic overtime basket secured the Northern Ireland’s Men’s 3x3 Basketball team’s place in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Team NI met hosts Scotland in the final of the European qualifier but trailed 4-1 in the early stages. However, showing great resolve, the men in green fought back to tie the scores at 8-8 going into the final seconds of the game.
James MacSorley’s basket looked to have won it with eight seconds left on the clock, but a foul sent Scotland to the free throw line and the scores were tied on the buzzer at 9-9, forcing overtime where the first side to get two points would win.
Scotland struck first before Con Nagle tied the scores and McCabe kept his cool to land the decisive basket.
Coach Phil Robison paid testament to the character of the team.
“The boys are just amazing, we never give up, we never die, we just keep running at it and team green came good in the end,” enthused Robinson.
“Scotland gave us a hell of a scare but the guys really showed their character and their flair, and it is just unbelievable.
“In term of the impact on disability sport in Northern Ireland I hope in a massive catalyst for more young people to involved in our sport.
“It is unbelievable that we are going to be at the Commonwealth Games and representing Northern Ireland and we’re going to go and try our best and have a crack at it in Birmingham.
“None of this would happen without the support from Sport NI, Disability Sport NI and the Sports Institute NI have been incredible and all that has led us to this moment and that gives us the best chance to put this on the floor and I’m so proud of everyone that has been involved.”
James MacSorley who has won Under-23 and Senior World Championship gold medals with Great Britain and a bronze at the Paralympics is delighted to have the chance to represent Team NI on the world stage.
“I’ve been a Belfast boy since the day I was born and I’ll probably be a Belfast boy until the day I die, I think,” said MacSorley.
"I’ve been lucky to play for GB for years but there is something really special about wearing this green and being able with people from where we come from and sound like we sound is really special.
“Being another step further in the history of Northern Ireland wheelchair basketball is amazing, we are standing on the shoulders of everyone who has played wheelchair basketball in this country since 1990, we are a little piece of that history now and it is an absolute pleasure to be involved.”
Team NI had defeated Scotland in their opening game 14-12 and beat Wales 15-5 to set up the winner takes all final with the hosts.