London 2012: Caroline looks for best finish

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CAROLINE Maclean’s hopes of a Paralympic medal may be over, but the lure of a best-ever finish at the Games will keep her gunning for victories.

The 37-year-old, of Camps Road, Haverhill, played a huge part in a thrilling quarter-final encounter between Paralympics GB and Germany on Tuesday evening.

Sadly for Maclean and her team-mates, Britain were eventually beaten 55-44 by the reigning silver medallists to bow out of the medal race. But the two-time St Edmundsbury Sports Personality of the Year wants to improve on her three previous eighth-place finishes from the Paralympics.

“We gave it a good fight, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” said Maclean, who plays for Sudbury-based Eastern Blue Stars. “We tried to stop the people we knew who could score lots of points, but their number eight kept running away with it.

“The noise in the arena was incredible and I just wish we could have won for the crowd.

“It was nice to know there were a lot of people watching at home as well because of the time it was on.”

The North Greenwich Arena – formerly the Millennium Dome – has not been a happy hunting ground for GB in the tournament, with their only victory coming in their single match at the Olympic Park’s Basketball Arena against Brazil.

That success – in which Maclean scored a vital final-quarter basket – guided the home nation into the last eight, but defeats to the Netherlands, Australia and Canada at North Greenwich left them with a tough tie against the unbeaten Germans.

Despite the lead changing 11 times in the match – six of those during the fourth quarter – a 17-3 run in the last five-and-a-half minutes of the final period took Britain from three points up to 11 points down at the final hooter.

“If we hadn’t put up a good fight, it would have been a lot harder to take,” said Maclean, who will now battle for fifth place at best.

GB take on China at the North Greenwich Arena today (10.45am), with a win or a defeat deciding whether they will play-off for fifth or seventh against the winner/loser of the Mexico versus Canada match.