England U16s Beat Israel to Make History - Hoopsfix.com

England U16s Beat Israel to Make History

England U16s Basketball team celebrate promotion
Simon Fisher’s England Under-16s made history on Saturday evening as they beat Israel 94-84 in overtime to book their place in the final at the 2011 Division B European Championships and secure promotion to Division A for next season.

The team are now 7-0 and become the first England side to gain promotion since the competition took a two-tier format 8 years ago.

It took an overtime, and overcoming a ridiculous performance from Israel’s Naor Sharon who finished with a triple double of 20 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, seemingly coming to their rescue every time England appeared to have gained ground.

Luke Nelson was dominant for England as he finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, whilst Mo Soluade came up clutch as he had 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Kingsley Okoroh once again did his thing, finishing with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocks.

England will look to put the icing on the cake as they face Slovenia in the final on Sunday night-a team they have already beat in the quarter finals.

Full box score, play by play and statistics available here.

It was a tough start for England as they couldn’t capitalise on Kingsley Okoroh’s offensive rebounds, as they missed four consecutive shots. Israel converted on the other end, before a Mo Soluade dunk off a Luke Nelson assist tied the game up with 2 minutes gone.

The dunk seemed to inspire England as they went on a 9-1 run, on baskets from Sam Round, Kingsley and Luke Nelson, to take an 11-3 lead halfway through the opening quarter, forcing Israel to call a timeout.

The timeout made little difference as England kept piling on the pressure. Tyrell Isaacs checked in and scored almost instantly, before a Mo Soluade three stretched the lead to 16-3 with 3 minutes left in the quarter.

Israel temporarily stopped the bleeding as they made two free throws, but a further four points from Kingsley and a basket from Nelson stretched England’s lead further at 22-5. England finished the first period up 22-7, with Israeli free throws the only thing keeping them on the scoreboard.

The second quarter was a different story, as England could not find the basket, failing to score in the opening four minutes. Israel capitalised going on a 17-6 run, reducing the deficit to just 4 as England were up 28-22, forcing head coach Simon Fisher to call a timeout with just over 3 minutes left in the half.

England regained their composure, as a Luke Nelson jumpshot and Ben Mead three, extended the lead back up to nine, 33-24, with 40 seconds to play. Israel’s Sharon scored straight out of the timeout, to leave England with a 33-26 halftime lead.

England came out in the second quarter fired up, going on a 7-2 run sparked by another Soluade dunk to take a 40 to 28 lead a minute and a half into the period.

Israel refused to get rattled though and kept the game close throughout the period, before going on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 47-42 and force and England timeout with just over 4 minutes left in the third.

Okoroh came out of the timeout and drew a foul, making both shots at the line. Mo Soluade then stole the ball from Y. Zuckerman getting Nicholas Bohling a made jumpshot. Israel couldn’t convert down the other end, whilst Luke Nelson hit a jumpshot of his own to give England a 6-0 run out of the timeout as they extended the lead to 11, 53-42 with three minutes left before the final quarter.

Once again however, Israel came back. A Dwayne Orija jumpshot just before the third quarter buzzer gave England a 59-53 lead going into the fourth period.

Is was Israel who got off to the quick start in the fourth quarter, going on a 7-2 run to make it a one point game at 61-60 with just a minute and 20 seconds gone in the period.

Tamas Okros and Nicholas Bohling scored around an Israeli basket as England led 65-62 with 8 minutes to play in the game. The two teams traded baskets, as Sharon hit two free throws to keep Israel with in three at 74-71 with 4 and a half minutes to play. After trading misses, Israel’s Zalmanson hit a layup to make it a 74-73 game with just 2 minutes and 41 seconds remaining. Both teams continued to come up empty handed until Mo Soluade came up with a clutch basket to put England up 76-73 with 42 seconds left, forcing an Israeli timeout.

The man who was dominant for Israel, Sharon, came up with a huge basket of his own out of the timeout, hitting a three to tie the game with 35 seconds left.

Tyrell Isaacs came out of the timeout and hit a lay-up to give England a two point lead with 23 seconds left and force another Israel timeout. Israel once again responded as Zalmanson scored off a layup from Sharon’s ninth assist to tie it up at 78 with 14 seconds left.

Mo Soluade’s shot attempt was blocked, before Sam Round missed a three as the game went to overtime tied at 78.

England got the quick start in OT, as Soluade scored before Sam Round hit a three and Luke Nelson made two free throws to give England an 85-78 cushion with 3 minutes left.

Israel yet again responded. They went on a 6-1 run to bring the score to 86-84 with just 1 minute 32 seconds left. England dag deeper. Luke Nelson took a feed from Soluade for his 25th point putting England up four. Sharon missed for Israel before Mo hit a basket for himself. Six point lead, 14 seconds left.

Mo then comes through with a steal at the other end before drawing an unsportsmanlike foul from Israel. Game over. He hits both free throws before Luke Nelson gets fouled on the possession making both to give them the final result.



  • England Starters: Luke Nelson, Sam Round, Mo Soluade, Tamas Okros, Kingsley Okoroh
  • The facebook chat box integration into FIBA Livestats is genius. First time I got involved and loved every minute of it!
  • Sport is amazing. Despite being sat in a room by myself looking at computer screen refresh, I felt so connected with all the other basketball fans rooting for England all up and down the country, through the internet. A real sense of togetherness for once. Amazing. So f’in hyped.
  • Huge and massive congratulations to Simon Fisher, all his coaching staff and the players. I think I speak for everyone when I say how proud we are are right now!

Image Credit: Michael Okoroh


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