Great Britain’s Under 16 Men dropped the opening game of their European Championships following a narrow 57-63 defeat by Finland. Michael Belle top scored for GB with 19 points, adding 14 boards for the double-double to go with 3 assists, two steals and a block.
Belle’s do it all performance helped his side stay close during an even 1st half. With neither side leading by more than four points throughout the opening 20 minutes, it made for a tense contest that could have gone either way.
That trend continued into the 3rd quarter as both team struggled in a low scoring but even period. Coach Vear’s side would have opportunities to pull away but going 0/8 from range in the frame kept the sides close at 46-48 going into the last.
A 2-9 run gave Finland some breathing room to begin to quarter as GB’s offence dried up at the worst possible time. That single GB basket would be their only one of the 4th until less than 5 minutes of the game remained.
The clock would show less than a minute before GB would score their 5th point of the quarter and by that point, Finland’s lead was close to double digits. A flurry of late baskets would close the gap, but it would be too little, too late for Coach Vear’s side.
GB’s Top Performers: Michael Belle – 19 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block: Sultan Adewale – 12 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks: Quinn Ellis – 9 points, 3 rebounds: Ethan Smith – 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block.
GB’s tournament continues tomorrow at 5:15pm UK time as they face Slovakia in the 2nd of their group D games. The top two sides in the five team group will progress to the quarter-finals and continue their quest for promotion.