England U16s Finish Strong Against Ireland at Riders Junior Invitational - Day 3 Recap - Hoopsfix.com

England U16s Finish Strong Against Ireland at Riders Junior Invitational – Day 3 Recap

England Under-16s rounded out the 2016 Riders Junior Invitational with a 70-52 win over Ireland Under-16s on Wednesday at the Leicester Community Sports Arena.

A plucky Irish squad fought until the end, where a strong 14-2 finish from England sealed the outcome in a game that otherwise saw Ireland within striking distance throughout.

Mate Okros and Josh Ogundele led England with 11 points each, the latter adding 7 rebounds, Theo Hughes joined them in double figures with 10 along with 7 rebounds, while Ross Luckman added 9.

“The third game of three is always a challenge fatigue wise and concentration wise,” England Head Coach Alan Keane said after the game.

“I’m not talking about the scores; I’m being very mindful of the process as that’s what we’re focusing on. I wasn’t pleased with the first half, the amount of missed box outs we had is a concern still and an area we have to emphasise more. I thought on ball defence was a lot better in this game than the previous two games, and the use of the hands in the off ball position again, similar to the box outs, is something we do have to invest a lot more time in moving forward. Overall, (it was) better than yesterday.

“This tournament was very valuable for us in working out what players can do, Riders did us a huge favour and inviting us here and being a great host.”

A shaky start from England saw them struggle with Ireland pressure before settling down and taking a 19-16 lead after the opening period.

The second quarter saw an England run punctuated by back to back dunks from Richard Amaefule and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo force an Ireland timeout with England getting their first double digit lead of the game. The two teams exchanged baskets as England went into the halftime break with a 34-25 lead.

A tight third quarter saw an 8-2 Ireland run to pull them right back into it before Mate Okros’ third three pointer of the game just before the end of the period saw England get the lead back up to 10.

The final quarter saw Ireland make a final charge, before England’s strong finish out of an Alan Keane time out to seal the victory.

The England Under-16 Men will reconvene for their next camp in Easter in Manchester.


  • Big man Theo Hughes had his best showing of the tournament – an intriguing prospect with his size and soft touch around the basket; showed a nice jump hook across the tournament.
  • Ireland were right in it until the final 14-2 England run. A strong showing from them.
  • Hosana Kitenge was forced to leave the game due to an ankle injury and did not return. Showed a great motor across the tournament and worked incredibly hard.
  • Mate Okros did a good job of helping his case for the squad, getting better (and more minutes) as the tournament went on.
  • Josh Ogundele was the team’s best rebounder across the two games he played – went after it at both ends of the floor.
  • Read the Day 1 and Day 2 recaps.
  • Huge thanks to all the staff at Leicester Riders for their hospitality over the three days!

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