It was a Summer Universiade to remember for Warren Ward, London, Ont., who helped Canada’s men’s basketball team finish with a silver medal. The 6’5 fourth-year guard made the best on his first opportunity representing Canada in international competition, and was one of Canada’s leading scorers throughout the tournament night in and night out.
“Warren has the ability to turn it on offensively and we needed someone to do that in overtime. He was getting stops in transition, he was getting offensive rebounds, and making plays off the dribble, he was just outstanding,” said team Canada men’s basketball head coach Kevin Hanson following Canada’s 85-75 overtime win in their first game of the tournament. Warren scored Canada’s first eight points in the extra frame to help pace his team to victory; and yet, this was only the beginning for Ward.
In Canada’s second game versus five-time defending champion Serbia, Canada snuck out a big 70-67 victory. Ward finished tied with Tyson Hinz of Carleton University for the team lead with fourteen points each. Following the game, Warren spoke of the team’s conditioning as a big reason for their early success at the tournament.
“I said it yesterday and I will say it again today, we are a resilient group, we aren’t going to back down, and we aren’t afraid to grind it out,” said Warren. “Cole [Hobin] organized a Facebook group to organize our training for this tournament, and we have all been running. I feel so good right now I could play another game,” he added.
Unfortunately Canada was unable to remain undefeated after a tight 63-61 loss to Austria in game three, but they still managed to finish atop of Group B with an 83-50 drubbing of Hong Kong in the final game of preliminary action. Ward led all scorers with 17 points.
In the medal round, Canada defeated Romania 71-58 in the quarterfinals, and then Lithuania 83-68 to reach the gold medal game. Warren scored double digits again in both games, finishing with 10 and 16 points respectively.
In the final gold medal game, Canada faced off with five-time defending champions Serbia for the second time at this tournament. Unfortunately the rematch did not go as well with a third quarter let down that would ultimately prove costly for the Canadian squad. They would go on to lose 68-55 and claim the silver medal.
Other fellow Gee-Gees in action at the 26th Summer Universiade were women’s soccer fourth-year defender Gillian Baggott, Ottawa, Ont., who scored a goal in Canada’s 3-0 win over Taiwan in preliminary action. They ended up matching their best-ever universiade finish, earning fifth place with a 1-0 shutout against Russia. Baggott scored the game’s lone goal in the 52’ minute of play.
On the track, Segun Makinde, Ottawa, Ont., finished fifth in the men’s 200m final. Makinde gave his absolute best performance in beating his personal best in the first four rounds of the men’s 200m. Mike Robertson, Ottawa, Ont., raced in the men’s 400m and finished seventh in his semi-final heat and did not advance to the final.
Gee-Gees swimmer and CIS silver medalist Adam Best, Ottawa, Ont., finished 17th in qualifying heats in the men’s 200m backstroke with a time of 2:01.97 but did not advance to the final.