U14 Girls Development Squad finish second in Scotland
The England U14 Girls development squad finished second in the Summer Slam tournament in Scotland after beating everyone except Spanish club Girona over the weekend.
The girls started with a 73-44 victory over Northern Ireland powered by 18 points from Jenelle Grant in a game which coach Lee Davie said: "really tested our on ball defensive stance and ability to keep the ball in front of us."
In their first match-up with the Spanish club, they were defeated 59-51 after overcoming a 10 point deficit to be tied at half-time. They lost the third quarter 19-9 and although they got the gap back to two points late on, England were unable to move in front.
Coach Davie commented: "The third quarter really highlighted the importance of consistent and efficient play over a 40 minute game". Savannah Wilkinson top-scored with 20 points.
Hosts Scotland were dispatched 90-29 in England's first game of the second day of the tournament with England twice (in the second and fourth quarters) scoring as many points as Scotland did in the whole game.
That set up a rematch with Girona in the tournament final and once again the Spanish club squeeked a close win, 55-52.
An excellent defensive effort from England in the first half held their opponents to just 23 points, but a rash of steals and fast break scores for the Spaniards saw them push out to a seven point lead after three quarters.
England were within 4 points in the final minutes, but a dagger three pointer ended any hopes they had of winning the tournament. Grant top-scored for the third time over the weekend with 13 points.
Grant commented on the tournament: "I felt that the games against the Spanish were a great learning experience for me. Competing in games at this level, I must play and perform at a higher speed than I am used to at club level. Overall I am really happy that I had this opportunity to compete and I had a great time."
Her colleague Grace Sinnot stated: "I thought that the tournament was a really good experience and it really helped me to improve as a basketball player. I had a great time and I learned the importance of mentally preparing for every game to allow me to stay calm and relaxed throughout the game."
Assistant coach Carys Hall also had positive words for the experience: "It's been a fantastic learning experience for players and staff alike, it has been very enjoyable being part of the team on and off the court. It was great to see individual and team performance improve throughout the tournament.
"The pace and intensity as well as the style of play was very tiring, highlighting the need for greater fitness and speed throughout our National Leagues."