- National Teams
The England Under-15 Development Squad returned from the Copenhagen Invitational with a 9th place finish last weekend, after going 3-2 over the three days.
In their opener in the Friday Group stage, the team suffered a 62-46 loss at the hands of Berlin, turning the ball over 30 times.
“We always knew playing Berlin first game was tough,” Head Coach Jesse Sazant said.
“They are always well organised and prepared and went on to win the final of the tournament convincingly. The first game is always an eye opener for our guys as it is the first time most of them have played against European teams. This is what we go to Copenhagen for every year, to expose our players to the mental, technical and tactical level that they have to compete against.”
Daniel Ogoro had 10 points to lead England, with Pierce Maslen and Kareem Queeley adding 8 each.
In their second and final game on opening day, they suffered an 80-64 defeat by the Finland Blue team.
“Very tough end to day one and a real eye opener for our guys. If you are not focused and don’t compete these teams will rip you apart. Finland controlled this game start to finish and taught our guys a real lesson,” Sazant said of the loss.
Manchester’s Jaxon Wroe had 16 points to lead England, while Queeley added 15.
A new day brought different results, as they opened up the Saturday group stage with a 68-45 victory over Denmark White, behind 11 points each from Richard Amaefule and Pierce Maslen, with Queeley adding 10.
“Great job by our guys to bounce back,” Sazant said. “They played with real energy and purpose to take the game to Denmark in the style we want to play. Lots of energy, high tempo and disruptive defence. Really pleased with how they responded to yesterday’s struggles.”
After that it was into the 9th-12th place games, where they opened with a 60-43 win over Finland White. Daniel Ogoro was once again the high man, with 15 points, and Queeley added 12.
“We were really pleased to get the chance to play the other Finish team and show what we had learned from previous day. Again our energy and focus was great which let us run away with the game in the second half,” said Sazant.
The final day of the tournament, on Sunday, saw England take on the Sweden Blue squad, and dominate on their way to an 83-44 rout to take ninth place.
Kareem Queeley had 14 and 7 rebounds to lead England, Richard Amaefule and Charlie Ratliff added 12 each, while Jaxon Wroe joined them in double figures with 10.
“Fantastic way to end the tournament!,” commented Sazant. “Again great energy and focus in the first half wore them and let us run away with the game in the second half. As we did throughout last 3 games, we got contributions from all 12 players and they really deserved this.
“While finishing 9th isn’t a true reflection of how we played, the losses on the first day a really important part of why we go to Copenhagen every year. This programme is about developing the guys ready for the challenges they will face at U16 Europeans and beyond. This group was excellent in learning those lessons and progressing massively over the course of the tournament.”