After a hectic and highly competitive morning of basketball in Constanta, Romania, both Great Britain’s Men’s and Women’s 3×3 sides have advanced to tomorrow’s quarter-finals in the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup Qualifying tournament.
Julius Joseph’s Men’s side were first to be called into action as they faced Turkey in a tight but entertaining game in the baking Romanian sunshine, grinding out an 11-10 win in overtime after playing some solid defence throughout the encounter.
Orlan Jackman thought he’d won the game for GB at the buzzer, but the officials judged that the Solent Kestrels man hadn’t quite released his shot in time, however that didn’t stop him stepping up with a two-pointer to seal a deserved win in OT. Jackman finished the day as the fifth-leading scorer in the competition with 10 points in two games.
The Women’s team began their day with a 17-14 win over Denmark, however were it not for a last-second two-pointer by the Danes then the score line would have been more convincing, and a fairer reflection of GB’s efforts in this outing.
An early make from beyond the arc by Shanice Beckford-Norton gave Stef Collins’ side a lead in the game and they never trailed from that point onwards, with the Danes keeping pace for the first five minutes of the encounter before GB pulled away in the closing stages thanks to some excellent defensive work.
With those victories securing both teams’ places in the knockout stages for tomorrow, GB then went to battle for top spot in their respective Men’s and Women’s pools, with the former facing Spain and the latter facing Hungary in the final two games of the morning in Romania.
The Men’s team got off to an incredible start against the Spaniards, roaring out to a 4-0 lead after two minutes with their excellent defensive play being balanced out by some great shot-making in the opening phases.
Joseph’s side held onto the advantage throughout and saw off all of Spain’s attempts at a comeback, eventually securing a deserved 13-11 win and advancing to the knockout stages undefeated.
The Hungarian Women’s side are one of the premier outfits in 3×3 basketball, with great experience and pedigree in the game, but even so GB took them all the way in their encounter, eventually just falling short 14-12 in this clash, whilst still advancing to tomorrow’s knockout stages.
GB Women’s 3×3 Head Coach Stef Collins had this to say following Saturday morning’s action:
“They were really positive results for us. That first game against Denmark went down to the wire, so I am pleased with the girls’ composure to seal the win, and then a tough turnaround, almost having to play back-to-back, to play the third seed Hungary.
“Even though I thought we didn’t play particularly well, there’s a few tweaks we can make to our game plan, and I think we are in a really good position heading into tomorrow’s quarterfinals. Now it’s about us recovering, resting, reviewing the video and being best prepared.”
Reflecting on the Men’s team’s performances, GB Men’s 3×3 Head Coach Julius Joseph added:
“It is fantastic to beat Spain in basketball, full stop. The guys were riding off the positive start that they had [winning against Turkey]. It built their confidence and got them a little more settled on the court, helping them execute [the game plan] and thrive. The confidence showed in the first few minutes of the game, it was like 4-0 before Spain knew what had hit them.
“We can’t get too high or too low, there’s still more games to play in the competition. It’s a great win but the job is not done.”
GB will have to wait for the conclusion of Saturday evening’s session before finding out who they’ll face in the quarter-finals, but you can keep up-to-date with all of the fixture news on GB’s social media channels or by visiting the competition website here.