GB U20 men started their Euro campaign against Turkey, who finished in 5th place in last year’s competition. In a game that never really flowed, GB remained in touch throughout but fell short at the end to lost 56-69. It wasn’t the start the Coach Karl Brown was hoping for but there were plenty of positive performances from this young team.
“That was a very positive start against a tough Turkish team, and it’s always good to get the first game jitters out of the way,” said Brown, reflecting on the contest. “We’re heading in the right direction with the players showing strong character and resolve. Now we just have to look forward to tomorrow’s game against France.”
GB started the game brightly with a 5-0 run but the 1st quarter lacked rhythm with 10 personal fouls called and GB in the penalty after only 4 minutes, giving Turkey 8 fouls shots in the quarter. Despite this, when GB utilised their fast break, easy baskets were made. They finished the 1st quarter with a 16-14 lead.
At the start of the 2nd quarter it was Turkey’s turn to score using the fast break, going on an 11-3 run. GB responded positively with some good inside plays but at the defensive end continued to give up fouls. Fortunately Turkey’s poor shooting from the line (9/20) keep the deficit to single figures. At half-time GB were down 34-25.
A much improved performance from GB in the 3rd quarter saw the Turkish lead quickly cut to 2 points. Kareem Queeley, having sat out much of the 1st half after committing 3 quick fouls, sparked the offense with 9 points. Better team defense, lead by Hosana Kitenge with 5 steals and 7 rebounds, restricted the free scoring Turkey offense and kept GB within touching distance.
Going into the final quarter GB were down 49-42 but they remained scoreless for the first 4 minutes as Turkey started on a 7-0 run. Kareem Queeley continued to lead the offense as he scored a quick pair of baskets to bring GB back into contention. However GB got no closer as Turkey continued to go to the foul line and extended their lead. They took a total of 42 foul shots in the game and only their poor percentage from the line (22/42, 57%) kept GB close. Turkey extended their lead to double digits with 4 minutes remaining and a 9-0 run toward the end the game saw Turkey home, winning 69-56.
Kareem Queeley lead GB scorers with 17 points (8/15 shooting); Kayne Henry, Nathan Robinson and Jacob Round all finished with 8 points and Hosana Kitenge contributed on the defensive end with 10 rebounds and 5 steals.
GB’s next game is against France tomorrow, tipping at 4:15pm UK time.
The game will be live on the GB Basketball Facebook page. To visit it, click HERE.