- National Teams
England achieved a fourth place finish at the FIBA 3×3 Planet under-15 tournament in Rome, having narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.
Jacob Round, Kareem Queeley, Richard Amaefule and Daniel Ogoro made up the England squad that impressed to reach the semi-finals.
“This was an amazing experience for the players to learn and develop,” said Head Coach Jesse Sazant. “The 3×3 rules really put them under huge mental pressure to focus the whole time which is great for them moving forward.”
England made a bright start to the competition by winning their first three games on the opening day of the competition. A slender 15-13 win over Armenia was followed by more convincing victories over San Marino (19-8) and Indonesia (16-7).
Moving into the knockout stages on day 2, and England advanced with another victory after beating Czech Republic 11-6 to reach the quarter-finals. Sazant’s side made a fast start in their last eight clash with Poland to lead 10-5, and their made the scoreline respectable with a long-range effort in the final second to make it 11-9 in England’s favour.
England then took on Lithuania for a place in the final, but were beaten 21-9 in a physical encounter that saw Round pick up an injury during the game. He would then miss the bronze medal playoff, but England made a strong start against Puerto Rico to lead 9-3.
Their opponents went 1/2 from the line to tie the game at 20-20 in the final ten seconds, before snatching victory with a late score to win 21-20 to deny England a top-3 finish.
“The loss to Puerto Rico was tough, but is an important lesson for the players that it is not over until the end,” said Sazant.
“The growth and development of the guys over these games has been immense,” he added. “This should really help them with their development as players and I was very proud of them. They carried themselves as professionals on and off the court.
“We led the tournament in shot clock violations forced. The way the players bought in to defending is key for us and the style we play as a national team.”
Image credit: @CoachSazant