The Great Britain U22 Team got their European Championship 2014 campaign off to a fantastic start with a stunning performance against Israel.
It was George Bates, the game’s top scorer, who earned the first points of the game to put Great Britain ahead by 2-0. Israel, however, were quick to respond as Shay Barbibay levelled the match on two points apiece. Sensing the threat, Captain Harry Brown then showed great composure from the line to move GB ahead by 4-2 and, from there, the team worked their way to a 21-6 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Great Britain came out strong again as the team’s returned to court for the second quarter, Charlie Fryer-Stevens (6) and Gregg Warburton (2) extending the lead to 27-6 within the first two minutes. GB continued to capitalise on their opportunities as Israel’s baskets failed to drop, due to good defensive pressure from GB. The first half ended with the GB U22 Team closing out a 41-10 advantage.
A gritty performance by Israel saw them take the opening three points of the third quarter, courtesy of Asael Yona Shabo (13-41), but Great Britain maintained their focus as they worked their way to a 67-20 lead with just 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The final quarter saw the GB U22 Team continue to push forwards, to take a 77-28 win in their first game of Championship.
1. George Bates (16); 2. Charlie Fryer-Stevens (14); Billy Bridge (9)
GB Head Coach Mat Foden said: “We played some really nice basketball in the warm-up tournament last weekend, and again our transition basketball worked well today. We didn’t know much about the Israeli team, so we had to focus on our own game. We finished well, shooting at 58%, and our workrate and defensive pressure was excellent, forcing 19 turnovers. We have some things we need to continue to work on as we grow in to the tournament, but it was a nice way to start and pleased we were able to use all of our rotations and get everyone in to the game with some good court-time. Now we turn our attentions to our game against France tomorrow.”
Harry Brown, “It was a great way to start the tournament. It’s always good to start with a win and to be able to get everyone court time was really valuable to get rid of some nerves. The team morale is really high after winning the pre-tournament but everyone is keeping focused taking one game at a time.”