RECAP: Disappointment for Ireland U16 men as Sweden take the win
August 11, 2018
The Ireland Under 16 men’s team were unlucky to lose out 70-73 to Sweden in a nail-biting finish in their third game of the FIBA Under 16 European Championships.
Ireland had a slow start to the first quarter as Sweden took an early 8-0 lead until a foul on Rapolas Buivydas sent him to the line to get Ireland’s first score. A Cj Fulton and Eli Lenihan team-up saw Ireland close the gap, while Sweden’s aggressive defence saw them fall into early foul trouble. This suited Ireland as Buivydas, went to the free throw line once more to give Ireland their first lead of the game. Sweden responded with scores of their own but thanks to the efforts of Ronan Collins and Fulton, Ireland finished the quarter one-point ahead.
Ronan Collins with the shot makes it Ireland U16 men 44 @basketse 45 with 3:17 to go in Q3 #FIBAU16Europe @IrishRail #GreenShoots— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) August 11, 2018
BOXSCORE: https://t.co/LHCeQ56ePW pic.twitter.com/GJKx4xWIH9
The second quarter saw a fiery and ferocious Swedish side hit the court with an explosive start. As Ireland took their time to get back to the pace of the game, Sweden profited on every mistake, gaining scores on fast breaks and turnovers and suddenly, Ireland were facing a 10-point deficit. As Sweden began to tire, Ireland started to find holes in their defence drawing fouls to put Sweden into foul trouble once more and sending Buivydas again to the free throw line in a bid to close the gap. Ireland may have disrupted Sweden’s run, but they still found themselves trailing 28-37 at half time.
Ireland laid everything they had on the line in the third quarter as they dug deep to close the gap. Slick shooting by Collins and Fulton saw Ireland regain their one-point lead, but the uphill battle continued as Sweden’s Oliver Cupan’s three-pointers found the net nearing the end of the quarter to push them five points ahead.
IRELAND ARE IN THE LEAD!! Eli Lenihan makes it Ireland U16 men 70 @basketse 69 with 50 seconds to go!! #FIBAU16Europe #GreenShoots— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) August 11, 2018
BOXSCORE: https://t.co/LHCeQ56ePW pic.twitter.com/EvDEdIsVr3
It was an all or nothing final quarter, and after all the hard work Ireland had done in the third quarter, they were close to running on empty. Sweden once more exploded out onto the court, increasing their lead. Fulton was once more the answer to Ireland’s prayers as he hit a super shot and drew a foul to head straight to the line. Sweden found themselves on team fouls in the final minutes of the game and with strong defensive rebounds from Buivydas and Collins, Ireland managed to close the gap to just six points. Back-to-back shots from Fulton followed by a score from Lenihan saw Ireland in the lead with just one minute to go. Unfortunately, Sweden’s slick shooter Cupan found the net with a crucial three-pointer to see them run out 70-73 winners.
Head coach Mike Lynch refelcted on the game, "It was a very disappointing loss today against Sweden. It was a game we felt we could have won. We had our chances, especially in the last quarter. However our free throw shooting cost us dearly. We now have to prepare for top of the table Romania who have won all three of their games. We have a rest day tomorrow where we will regroup and recover."
IRELAND: CJ Fulton (25), Conor McDonnell, Conor Walsh, Denzel Ebose (4), Eli Lenihan (12), Jack Doyle, Kelvin O’Donoghue, Liam Keating, Malik Thaim, Oscar O’Lideadha, Rapolas Buivydas (10), Ronan Collins (19)
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.fiba.basketball/europe/u16b/2018