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Scotland Under 18 Men look to finish on a high in Euro B

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08/17/2012

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Scotland Under 18 Men look to finish on a high in Euro B

Welcome to Sarajevo

Scotland U18 Men Euro B 9-19 August 2012

We knew a tough group awaiting Scotland and so it has transpired.  Five games in five days has required herculean effort and pushed the team to dig deep well into energy reserves – sadly we’ve come up short and dropped to the 17-22 classification round.

Match-ups against Israel and England highlighted their credible Euro A aspirations and pushed the team – we finished 43-93 and 39-95 respectively.  Closer games against Romania and Belarus saw the margins reduce and an improvement in our stats overall.  At the end of the group stages Matt Wilcox was our leading scorer closely followed by Josh McGilvray and Jack Nicholson.

As the first week progressed, it was clear that the boys are making headway – intensity, effort on defence and decision-making have improved and we are able to sustain this for longer passages of play.  Understandably five losses weighs heavy and the boys have sought to regroup in targeting the game against Luxembourg for classification and keeping motivated with a three day rest break.  In terms of our exposure to Euro B standard competition, which stats alone do not reveal, and in developing young players – this is all promising.

A well earned rest day then we faced Luxembourg (0/5 in Group B) – a good first half saw us going into the break 3 points clear – however a third quarter gear change and relentless press from Luxembourg put pay to our aspirations of a win and targeting 19/20 place game.  Josh had a great game and amassed 21 points; Jack added a further 14; Matt with 7 rebounds and captain Neil Rowan with 5 assists.  Final scores were Scotland 61 Luxembourg 75 representing significant improvement on our international series against the U18s and U20s back in June.  There were over 10,000 spectators in the stadium that night – not all of them saw the game but the Bosnia v Lativa Eurobasket was rocking and the hosts squeaked out a narrow win finishing 87-84.

With that we contest 21/22 placing and a game against Switzerland on Sunday 19th at 12:00 (CET).  The Swiss join us on 0/6 and we go into the game for an all out effort to secure a win.  No more chances – the boys have worked hard and have the means to succeed – it’s all or nothing…

Follow the action on Sunday via the FIBA webpage.

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