- National Teams
England under-18’s saw their hopes of promotion come to an end after suffering a 76-55 defeat against Slovenia in their first game in Group E at the European Championships in Austria on Wednesday.
Karl Brown’s side trailed by just a single point at the end of the opening two quarters but a devastating 18-2 start to the third saw their opponents break clear.
With Poland also picking up victory in the other Group E encounter, it means that England can no longer reach the semi-finals as they drop to an 0-2 record.
Kyle Carey (pictured) top scored with 16 points while Alex Roberts also reached double figures with 10 points.
Both sides got off to a cold start with several missed shots as Slovenia managed to open up a 7-2 lead.
Late baskets from Andre Arissol and Carey cut the gap to one as England ended the first quarter trailing 9-8.
Henri Langton gave England their first lead at the start of the second only for their opponents to respond with another 7-2 run.
England remained close through five points in quick succession from Roberts while a basket for Carl Wheatle ensured the gap stayed at one point at half-time with Slovenia up 26-25.
The pivotal period came when play resumed as Slovenia raced out of the blocks at the start of the third to compile a destructive run of 15 unanswered points to take complete control.
Slovenia’s third quarter lead peaked at 44-27 and despite six points from Carey, England could only narrowly reduce the deficit to 14 points as they went into the final quarter down 57-43.
A fast start was required to pull off an unlikely comeback and a 3-pointer from Luke Mitchell gave brief hope but England would fail to score for nearly five minutes to fall further behind.
Carey added a late three-point play while Max Edwards got onto the scoreboard with the damage already done before the final 21-point margin of defeat.
The loss ended England’s impressive run of four straight victories and despite seeing their hopes of an immediate return to Division A end, they will be hoping to finish the tournament on a high with a 5th place finish still up for grabs.
England had an 18/7 turnover to assist ratio and could only convert 2 of 14 from behind the 3-point line, whilst going 9-16 from the charity stripe.
The under-18’s are in action again tomorrow as they take on Hungary in their final Group E game at 5pm (UK time) with 5th place now their highest possible finish.