Great Britain U20 Men stormed to a third-place finish, powering past Russia to claim promotion to Division A and a bronze medal, ending a wonderful showing at this year’s European Championship.
A disastrous 10 minute stretch in the opening fixture saw GB fall to the Dutch (65-74), despite outscoring the opposition by 12 across the other 3 quarters. Undeterred, the squad bounced back in style to rattle off three consecutive victories, beating Russia (64-75), Slovak Republic (67-53) and Azerbaijan (111-68), to round out the group phase and qualify for the quarter finals. Carl Wheatle’s triple-double against Azerbaijan proved the highlight of the early fixtures.
In a back and forth final 8 contest, it was GB who held their never in a thrilling battle against Poland (71-69), to book a place in the semi-final: a single victory away from promotion to Division A.
The semi-finals proved somewhat anticlimactic, Croatia finding a way to keep GB at arms length to take the contest in relatively comfortable fashion (69-79). Promotion, therefore, came down to a one-game shootout against Russia.
Akwasi Yeboah, who was named to the All-Star Five, scored 22 points and pulled down 6 rebounds to guide GB to a sensational 81-65 victory: promotion and bronze secured. A fitting end to an excellent campaign.
Group Phase – Group B
Great Britain 65 v 74 Netherlands; C. WHEATLE 13p-9r
Russia 57 v 64 Great Britain; A. YEBOAH 22p
Great Britain 67 v 53 Slovak Republic; A. YEBOAH 16p
Azerbaijan 68 v 111 Great Britain; D. EVANS 25p, WHEATLE 11p-18r-10a
Poland 69 v 71 Great Britain; K. CAREY 13p
Great Britain 69 v 79 Croatia; C. WHEATLE 21p
3rd place game
Great Britain 81 v 65 Russia; A. YEBOAH 22p