- National Teams
The England Under-15 Boys National Development Squad played three games against Ireland in London last weekend, winning all three and producing better results as the series went along to complete their program for 2013.
They were pushed hard by the Irish early in the opening game, falling behind 20-10 and losing Sam Japhet-Mathias to an inadvertent elbow, but eventually found their feet to level the scores by half-time and then start the third quarter with a 17-2 run.
The lead got to as many as 20 in the final quarter before Ireland made a late rally to get a little closer making the final score 62-53. Tolu Babalola and Sam Kato each scored 10 points to lead the team.
The second game proved to be a similar story with England making a slow start before putting together a run around half-time and using their defence to stifle the Irish in the second half.
An eleven minute stretch when Ireland scored only 3 points allowed the English team to come away with a 59-43 victory led by 13 points from Sam Japhet-Mathias and 11 from Carl Wheatle.
The third game of the series saw the England boys put in their best performance as they produced a 31-5 run in the first half to lead 46-20 at the break. Again their defence held the Irish in check as the lead continued to grow, leading to a 77-38 final score. Wheatle top-scored with 14 points, Kieran O’Neill had 12 and George Pool had 10.
“This was a satisfying way to finish four days hard work with the guys,” said head coach Jesse Sazant after the game. “Their decision making showed a significant improvement from the first two games as they made much better decisions in pressure situations. As we had all week, we were able to put together an extended period where we were able to really limit any high percentage scoring opportunities by playing aggressive fundamental defence.
“This age group has been a pleasure to work with over the last two years. As they move on to play for their U15 regional teams and then become next year’s U16 squad I want to wish them all the best in their basketball careers.”