Great Britain Under 18 Women kept alive their hopes of a 17th place finish at this year’s European Championships after a nail-biting 57-54 win over North Macedonia on Friday night.
Rebecca Adjeiwaah-Dwomoh led the way for GB with a team high 13 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals. The talented forward also scored the game’s go ahead basket with less than 30 seconds remaining, capping a great performance in a pivotal game for her side.
Macedonia opened the scoring in the 1st with a triple to put GB on the back foot, but Coach Busch’s side reacted well to reel off 15 straight points as GB built a healthy advantage.
Winless Macedonia looked disjointed in the early going, conceding turnovers and struggling against an up-tempo GB defence. That allowed Nottingham Wildcat’s guard Brahe Ashton to get off to a flying start, recording seven points and three assists in the game’s opening frame.
With Ashton pulling the strings on offence and Ipswich’s Esther Little slashing to the basket, GB established their biggest lead of the game at 14. That pace couldn’t be maintained though as Macedonia went on a 13-1 run of their own to tighten the game up as the quarter wound down.
GB would lead 31-28 by the half time buzzer, leaving Coach Busch wanting more from his side after the restart.
Opening the 2nd half with a triple, Macedonia quickly found themselves back on level terms as play resumed. Back to back baskets followed as Group C’s basement side reeled off 8 straight points to open the 3rd, but GB stayed with their opponents thanks to buckets from Manchester’s Jade Mbam and Adjeiwaah-Dwomoh.
Mbam then found her mark from beyond the arc for a second time, helping to spark a 7-0 run that would once again pry the teams apart. Macedonia refused to go quietly though, closing the scores back up to trail by just two at 45-43 going into the last.
Neither side could produce a basket in the 4th quarter’s opening two minutes, a clear sign of the tension that had begun to creep into the contest. GB edged themselves ahead thanks in part to a layup from Caledonia Pride’s Pollyanna Storie, but Macedonia sent their fans wild with a timely strike from range to tie the game at 50 with three minutes to go.
The hosts then took their turn to edge ahead, though GB would inevitably strike back, and with the game even at 54-54, neither side could find the telling blow.
As the seconds ebbed away it was Adjeiwaah-Dwomoh that pushed GB ahead for good, sinking the hosts following some tenacious work around the rim. Missing her initial shot from close range, the GB forward wasn’t to be denied as she secured her own rebound to find success at the 2nd attempt.
Racing down the court, Macedonia had multiple shots from inside the paint with each one going agonisingly close without finding success. Eventually GB came down with the rebound before advancing up the court and icing the game from the line.
GB’s Top Performers: Rebecca Adjeiwaah-Dwomoh – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals: Cameron Taylor-Willis – 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists: Esther Little – 4 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks: Pollyanna Storie – 4 points, 9 rebounds.
Tonight’s win against Macedonia sets up a tie with Austria at 8:00pm UK time tomorrow night. Austria, like GB, went 1-4 in the group stages before enjoying a morale-boosting 90-46 demolition of Albania earlier today.
The game will be live on the GB Basketball Facebook page. To visit it, click HERE.