Great Britain open Euro’s with solid win
The GB U18 Men got their European Championship Division A journey started with the opening game taking on Montenegro. With two Scots in the squad, this was a highlight for fans of Scottish Hoops.
GB were fairly strong on the defensive end in the first quarter, snatching several steals and converting the fast break buckets to give them and early 13-9 lead. Coach Keane’s squad had clearly emphasised the defensive intensity as Mate Okros put on a clinic, with an individual performance. Montenegro, however, stayed in the game by out-hustling GB for rebounds, collecting consecutive offensive rebounds for easy scores, ultimately cancelling out all the hard work done by GB.
Real Madrid star, Kareem Queeley, got into early foul trouble and had to sit out a large chunk of the first period which helped Montenegro hold on and cut the deficit to a 21-17 GB lead.
Turnovers became a struggle for GB as they failed to get the ball out of their own half, but when they did, they couldn’t string an offence together allowing for Montenegro to take advantage. This forced Coach Alan Keane’s hand to his bench and saw Scottish Star Callan Low check in for the first time. Low showed his gratitude to Coach with some excellent defensive play forcing his man into a buzzer beating shot that missed and the fast break was on for Low as he raced down for an And-1. Despite this, the turnovers were still killing the GB momentum as they trailed 27-25 midway through the second quarter.
Sulaiman dominated the game
GB had forced a timeout which also gave them a chance to regroup as they climbed out to a 37-31 lead with under 2 minutes remaining. Nathan Robinson beat the buzzer to give GB a 42-36 halftime lead. By the way…Tomiwa Sulaiman had 18 massive half time points. Certified Baller.
Sulaiman continued to dominate to start the 3rd as he barrelled his way to the bucket before putting his man through the gauntlet down the court defensively. Relentless Montenegro kept coming back to narrow the gap as big man Hosana Katenge picked up his 3rd foul which gave him some pine time.
GB went back to old ways, struggling on the defensive backboard, a coach’s nightmare when every man on the floor shuts the offence down but they collect the offensive rebound off a poor shot, something Coach Keane will be looking to fix.
Chris Feeney checked in during the last minute of the 3rd quarter and contributed beautifully to an and 1 play that showed class ball movement. GB had opened up their slender gap to a slightly more comfortable 69-60 lead going into the 4th.
Montenegro started the final period strong, almost wiping the GB lead away as they trailed by a single basket with just over 6 minutes remaining. GB didn’t help themselves as they were unable to finish at the basket. The momentum refused to stay with either team very long as GB then went on to regain a cushioned lead 77-72 with under 5 minutes left. This period of play showing it could come down to the wire, Montenegro were holding on.
Kareem Queeley showed us why he’s at The European Giants Real Madrid as he turned on the bucket machine and became an offensive powerhouse in a short space of time, nailing a 3, forcing Montenegro Coach Radovic into a timeout. Fellow offensive powerhouse Sulaiman couldn’t miss, everything was falling. GB played with pace and space that took them out to the biggest lead of the game, 87-76 with a little over 2 minutes remaining on the game clock.
Great Britain held on to their commanding lead and saw the final 2 minutes out to go on and claim a solid victory over Montenegro 87-78.
Tomiwa Sulaiman led all scorers with 26 huge points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
Kareem Queeley also dropped 19pts, 4 rbs and 6 assists.
Nikola Zizic led Montenegro with 20 pts, 14 rbs and 3 assists.
View full stats here.
GB will face Serbia next on 29th July.