Great Britain’s Under 18 Men couldn’t find a way past a dogged Slovenia side to grab a place in this weekend’s semi-finals, slipping to a 57-71 defeat after shooting 26% from the floor. Mate Okros once again starred for GB as he scored a game high 17 points to go with six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Both teams looked nervous in the early going and there was little fluidity on display from either side. It wasn’t until three minutes remained in the quarter that Slovenia made it to double digits, moving in front to establish a lead.
From there Slovenia accelerated, but scores from Sam Grant and Chris Feeney would keep GB in touch as the first frame ended 10-18.
Early in the 2nd quarter the difference hit double digits, but that would be as far as GB would drift before they kicked themselves into gear. Baskets from Tomiwa Sulaiman, Tosan Evbuomwan and David Chive created a 6-0 run that would pull GB within 2 at 28-30.
Slovakia would enjoy the final three points of the half though, drawing to a close a tight 20 minutes of play with the score poised at 28-33 come the half-time buzzer.
The 3rd quarter was an eventful one that looked to have provided both teams with enough momentum to take control of the game. GB would sprint out of the blocks after the break to rip off a 10-0 run, capped by a Mate Okros three that would send Slovenia scurrying to an early time out.
From there, the GB offence would dry up and it would be Slovenia’s turn to prosper. A 15-1 streak pushed the game back in their favour with the quarter nearing an end, but a late triple from Josh Uduje and some good work down low by Cam Hildreth put the difference back to five once again at 39-44 going into the 4th.
GB began the final frame in the best way possible as Theo Hughes scored from close range thanks to a slick assist from Evbuomwan, but Slovenia replied with back to back triples to take control once more.
Coach Keane’s side did everything to fight back as the minutes ticked by, but their opponents managed to get the lead up to double digits again midway through the quarter. From there the game played out to a low key end as Slovenia booked their place in the semi-finals at GB’s expense, winning by a final score that did little to show how close the majority of the game had been.
GB’s Top Performers: Mate Okros – 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals: Tosan Evbuomwan – 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals: David Chive – 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists: Theo Hughes – 6 points, 11 rebounds.
Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day as GB will get back into action on Saturday as they take on France in the classification games to decide 5th through 8th. That game will tip at 2:45pm UK time as GB look to finish their tournament on a high over the coming weekend.