GB secure first win on U23s League of Nations Day Two
By Jamie Thomas
GB’s Under-23 sides built on their opening-day exploits in the FIBA 3×3 League of Nations with impressive performances and flashes of brilliance in Israel with the Women’s side grabbing their first victory of the week.
The Women’s first game of the day saw them rematch with France, who were 22-5 victors over GB on Day One of the competition, but Kenrick Liburd’s side had learned quickly from Monday’s action and gave a very impressive French team – who were the last team standing after Day One’s fixtures – a significant challenge.
France held a 7-2 lead with four minutes to play, but some great hustle from the GB squad on the defensive end coupled with some stellar offensive play from Loren Christie in particular saw GB outscore the French 5-3 in the closing stages to bring it back to a two-point game in the last minute.
France saw out their lead to secure a slender 10-8 win despite GB’s impressive comeback, who showed rapid signs of progress following their Day One outings.
Krumesh Patel’s Men’s side continued GB’s strong start to the day as they stormed to a 5-1 lead against France in the opening few minutes after some aggressive moves on offence and high-energy defence forced the French into tough shots and poor turnovers.
Evan Walshe, newly added to the squad for Day Two, impressed straight away with his hustle on defence and his variety of play on offence, and Tosan Evbuomwan contributed with some beautiful offensive work in the post early-on.
The French rallied and closed the gap with four minutes remaining, before a deep two-pointer from Timothé Vergiat tied it up at 8-8 as GB called a timeout. Veron Eze and Evbuomwan scored at the restart to make it 10-8, but France would not go away, tying it at 10-10 with seconds to go, before a thunderous dunk from Jules Rambaut made it 11-10 to seal a French win.
The Women’s second fixture of the day saw them secure their first win of the League of Nations campaign, as they overcame Israel in a hotly-contested fixture in which Liburd’s side never trailed. Christie continued her strong start to Day Two with a dominant offensive display where she scored inside, from mid-range and a tough two-pointer to give GB a 7-4 lead going into the closing minutes.
Israel battled to level the score at 8-8 before Christie was fouled with 25 seconds to go and made it 10-8 with two clutch free-throws.
The Men’s final group game was also against Israel and was a frustrating one for GB as the score didn’t reflect the effort of Patel’s side, who just couldn’t get the ball to drop through the net despite some good work on offence. The Israelis ran out 14-7 winners to conclude the Day Two action for both GB sides.
Coach Krumesh Patel said:
“There was great improvement from the team this morning and they really showed that with a near win against the Stop One champions France! The grit and focus was there to see as well as some good details in defence. The loss to Israel was tough to take but we are still learning to have multiple games in a day and to trust the game plan. Overall we’re making solid strides in the right direction.”
GB Men’s Results
GB 10-11 France
GB 7-14 Israel
GB Women’s Results
GB 8-10 France
GB 10-8 Israel 2
WEDNESDAY 30 JUNE
8:00am: GB Women v Netherlands
8:25pm: GB Men v France
9:50am: GB Women Israel 2
10:15am: GB Men v Israel 2
1.30pm: Women’s Final
1.55pm: Men’s Final