Mixed fortunes for Britain's basketball teams
SEPTEMBER 16 - KRISTY LAVIN (pictured) scored 22 points and Sally Kaznicawas successful on four of eight three-point shots as Britain's women cruised by Luxembourg72-50 in Cardiff tonight to remain undefeated in the first leg of their European Championships qualification round.But Britain’s men completed the first leg of their European qualification round with a loss to Belarus, 69-68, at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International Sports Centre.
The women's game, held at the Welsh Institute of Sport, was controlled by the hosts for nearly the entire duration with Luxembourg’s only lead ending at the six minute mark of the first quarter when Lavin hit a three giving GB a 7-5 lead.
Britain's head coach, Mark Clark, was able to give all 12 players valuable court time in the win, 11 of whom added points to the final tally.
With two games out of the way, GB now ready themselves for the group’s two strongest teams in the competition so far, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal.
They face Bosnia-Herzegovina, also undefeated, in Sarajevo on Wednesday evening and then round out the first leg on Saturday against Portugal at Nottingham’s Wildcats Arena.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Britain's menin front of their home fans in a game that came down to the last shot; unfortunately for the hosts, that shot did not fall.
Guard NateReinkingconnected on a three-point shot with less than a minute remaining to bring Great Britainwithin a point of Belarus, 69-68.
Intense British defense then saw Belarus run out the 24 second shot clock twice in a row and with 7.7 seconds remaining, GB head coach Chris Finch called a time-out to prepare for the game’s final play.
With Reinking marked tightly by a Belarus defender, the ball ended up in the hands of veteran Roger Huggins and the game’s high scorer, Andrew Sullivan, for the final two shots, both of which were contested and failed to find the bottom of the net.
"They [Belarus] capitalised on our mistakes and we just couldn’t get a break when we needed it," said GB head coach Chris Finch.
"There’s still a lot left to be played and we have a year to prepare. I'm happy with the overall performance during the four games."
Britain finish the first leg of the European Qualifiers with a two-win, two-loss record and now wait for the second leg, which commences in September 2007.