Scotland u12 boys impress in Sweden
The Scotland U12 boys national squad travelled to Gothenburg, Sweden in May to compete in the first ever ‘Easy Basket’ U12 section of the city’s famous Göteborg Basketball Festival. It was an exciting experience for everyone involved, with this being the first taste of international competition for these young players.
The players enjoyed the full-on intense basketball atmosphere for the five day trip – this equated in terms of training and exposure time to nearly the equivalent of six months training at home (based on a normal training pattern of about 2 hours a week). In this time they:
- Saw the level of basketball from other European countries
- Compared their playing level with other players
- Saw visual examples of other players
- Learnt to be responsible for their part in the national squad
- Developed and improved their tactical and technical abilities
- Improved their team-working
- Supported the other Scottish squads and developed a whole team approach
- Started to be independent and acquire personal values
- And above all, enjoyed themselves
After a long first day of travelling (first time in Glasgow, London, and even on a plane for many of the boys) the squad got settled at a local high school – their accommodation was a basketball court (what more could you want).
The Scotland boys whilst training together and following the same game plan were split into two equal squads of 10 prior to travelling to Sweden, the Blues coached by John Kerray and Tim Cuffley and the Whites by Jay Runga and Jero Munoz.
It was the Scotland Blues who took to the floor first on Thursday morning in the classification games at Idrottshögskolan, against Swedish club side, Djursholm Indians, it was a great game with both teams playing their hearts out right till the end. Blues 35 – 30 Indians.
The Blues second classification game saw them take on Kvarnby basket. After a close 1st ¼ the blues stretched the lead to 22 points at half time, the boys played well as a team executed the game plan perfectly. Blues 58 – 11 Kvarnby. This now meant that the Blues had qualified for the gold group of the tournament.
The Whites now had their first game after a long day of waiting against a strong Alvile Smodslatten. It was an end to end game with only 3 points in it at the half, unfortunately the boys could not hold on and lost by 7 in the end. Whites 34 – 41 Alvile.
Friday morning saw the Whites back on court against a powerfull Raips team, who had one of the best players in the tournament on their team. With a powerfull 2 handed dunk in the first minute the Raips showed they meant business. The Whites rose to the challenge with exceptional play on defence and some great moves to the basket on offence, after a hard fought game the scores were even and no overtime! Whites 39 – Raips 39. This now meant the Whites had qualified for the Silver group.
The Blues took on Skuru in the first of their Gold group games, everything had clicked in the last game and continued to do so in this game, great team work and execution saw them win by 38 points against a well drilled side. Blues 59 – 21 Skuru.
The Whites played Alvik in a tightly contested game, playing great on defence with some huge blocks and important steals the Whites converted their chances on offence and won the game by 8 points. Whites 29 vs Alvic 21.
With no games left to play in the afternoon the boys headed to the skate park and basketball shop where they ably spent all their pocket money on basketball gear before heading to the All-Star Event at Liseberg Arena on Friday evening. The event featured a slam dunk contest, 3 point shoot out and a skills and drills challenge. Two of the Scotland boys had entered the competition, with Jacob (U12) representing in the skills challenge and Sean (U13) in the 3-point shoot out, giving the boyss the chance to cheer on their fellow Scots, led by our able dancers Sam, Harry, Ryan and Kyle.
Day 3 of the festival saw the Blues take on the other unbeaten team from the tournament Euroleague club Riga Kekeva from Slovenia. This looked to be a great match up, the Blues started strong taking a 16 point lead into the second half and finally winning by 13. Blues 46 – Kekeva 33.
The Whites in their last game played Hagen and won comfortably by 25 points, the boys looked great on defence once again and had some exceptional finishing on offence. Whites 35 – 10 Hagen.
Sunday we spent watching the finals of the older age groups and playing a lot of outdoor basketball which the boys really enjoyed.
We had individual players that were in the top 5 in their age group (Owen winning the shooting competition as well) and our team play was comparable, if not stronger than most of the teams there. This is an excellent starting point for basketball in Scotland to build on in the coming years. Well done boys!