Canada won its first men’s basketball medal in the history of the Pan American Games Saturday afternoon, silver, when it dropped an 86-71 decision to Brazil in the championship game of the tournament at the Ryerson Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto.
Canada’s previous best finish in the 64-year history of the Games had been fourth, at Caracas, in 1983. At the last Games, 2011, the Canadian team finished sixth.
Aaron Doornekamp had two points for Canada in 27 minutes of playing time, as well as three rebounds, four assists and a steal. It was the second appearance in the Games for the former Ernestown Eagle, having been part of Canada’s seventh-place team in 2007.
Also winning a medal was Canadian assistant coach Dave Smart, the Carleton University coach and a former varsity player at Queen's.
Canada fell behind 48-29 by halftime, and trailed by as much as 25 points in the third quarter, before beginning a stirring comeback. The Canadians closed the gap to just six points, 69-63, with a little more than seven minutes to play. They could not, however get any closer.
The medal was the 11th for Kingston-connected athletes at the XVII Games. Earlier, Will Crothers (two gold), Rob Gibson (gold, silver) and Nicolas Pratt (gold) won medals at the rowing regatta in St. Catharines; Brittany Benn of Napanee and ex-Queen’s Gaels Nadia Popov and Matt Mullins won gold as members of championship rugby teams; Queen’s grad Terry McLaughlin won sailing silver in the J-24, and Regiopolis Notre Dame grad Kate Gillis won bronze with the women’s field hockey team.
Sunday morning, on the final day of the Games, ex-Queen’s player Adam Simac will play for the bronze medal as a member of Canada’s men’s volleyball team against Puerto Rico. The teams met in the preliminary round, where Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-1.