Great Britain Under-20s completed a clean sweep of their 9 warm up games, with a 61-55 win over Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon in Ipswich.
Their second game of the series was by no means as easy as the first, with the Netherlands refusing to go down without a fight and capitalising early on GB complacency.
“I thought we were a little distracted coming into this game,” commented head coach Doug Leichner after the game. “Guys were thinking about the trains they were taking, where they were going the next four days (off), but, to their credit, when we needed to buckle down in the second quarter and into the third, they were able to do that.
“Holland played very well today, they were a team, they gave us a lot of problems, but I’m happy with the result, to get that at this stage is very good.”
Devon van Oostrum had 21 of his 29 points in the first half, with Rowell Graham adding a 15 point, 12 rebound double double and Matthew Don scoring 4 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.
With a four day break now in their schedule, the team will meet up again on Sunday when they will fly out to Romania for the 2013 Division B European Championships, which they will tip off July 12th against the Slovak Republic.
Coach Leichner is feeling good about the team’s chances.
“I think you have to be confident,” he said, looking ahead to the next couple of weeks, where they will also face Luxembourg, Romania, Poland and Hungary in the opening round. “Anything you keep score of you want to win, every drill in practice we play to a certain score and (at) the European Championships, our goal is to win it and there should be nothing wrong with saying that – that’s what you wanna do.
“You want to compete and you want to win a championship and now we have to go out, put it all together and do it on the floor.
- Sluggish start from GB saw them go down 6-0, then 10-2 in the first 4 minutes of the game. A quick timeout from Doug soon sorted that. Netherlands did rally back after GB had taken a 12+ point lead, reducing it to 3 at one point in the third quarter, but GB did what they needed to, responding every time.
- A well deserved, and much needed four days rest for the team now, before flying to Romania on Sunday.
- The U20s have an informal scrimmage against Portugal scheduled in Romania before the Euros start as a final part of their preparation.
- Devon van Oostrum is averaging 26.2 ppg through the 8 GB warm ups he has played in, upped to 28.7 ppg through 7 if you don’t include the opener against England u18s which was more a scrimmage and not an official friendly. He sat out one game vs Belgium with a minor ankle injury.
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- Massive thanks to Nick Drane, Tom Sadler, Leigh and the rest of the Ipswich staff/players for looking after my every need for the past two days, as well as the U20s coaching staff and players for accommodating my interview requests!