RECAP: Ireland U16 men finish #FIBAU16Europe with a win
August 18, 2018
The Ireland Under 16 men got back to their winning ways today as they finished the FIBA Under 16 European Championships with a 67-59 win over Belarus. A huge third display from the boys in green set them on the road to glory, with superb defence across the team the key to unravelling the Belarus’ game plan, and Ireland kept their cool to hold out for victory.
There was very little separating the sides in the first half, with both teams matching each other score-for-score. Kelvin O'Donoghue was first to score for Ireland while Rapolas Buivydas drove hard at Belarus’s defense and worked the boards well to get up some vital points. Belarus built up a slight lead nearing the end of the first quarter but a late three pointer from Eli Lenihan saw Ireland finish just one point behind.
The second quarter followed in the same fashion as both teams worked hard defensively. Belarus got the better of the opening exchanges as back-to-back scores saw them edge out ahead. Ronan Collins, Liam Keating and O'Donoghue replied with scores of their own to draw Ireland level with minutes left in the half. Both teams battled hard to break the deadlock but a late shot from Belarus saw them finish 30-32 in the lead.
A huge third quarter from the Irish though was where it all started to unravel for the Belarus, as Ireland’s Buivydas played a stormer hitting his double-double with some fantastic plays on both side of the court. Early scores from Keating, O’Donoghue and Embose saw Ireland take control of the game while their defensive play forced Belarus to make easy turnovers and misplace passes. Ireland upped the tempo of the game with a fast break from Conor Walsh kicked out to Buivydas for the layup saw them enter the fourth 53-48 ahead.
Rapolas Buivydas with the layup makes it Ireland U16 men 43 Belarus 33 #FIBAU16Europe with 6:04 to go in Q3 #GreenShoots @IrishRail— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) August 18, 2018
BOXSCORE: https://t.co/ThDSnho8W1 pic.twitter.com/sJLIhIOsC0
Ireland had to keep their composure for the final quarter as Belarus hit the court hot with a three-point shot in the opening seconds. Scores were hard earned as both teams put on a huge defensive display. Liam Keating showed his worth as he weaved through the Belarus defense to find the net, while a team up of Lenihan and Buivydas saw Ireland push the gap out to 11 points. Despite Belarus’ best efforts with a last-minute run, Ireland ran out 67-59 winners. Ireland finished their European tournament in 15th place with four wins and four losses.
Head coach Mike Lynch reflected on the win: “We are delighted with the win, it’s a great way to end the tournament and I have had a wonderful two years with this squad and coaching staff.”
“The game was played with a high intensity and our guys really stepping up to the challenge. Our defense has been the foundation to our philosophy with this team, we respect everyone but we fear no one.“
Ireland U16 Men: CJ Fulton, Conor McDonnell, Conor Walsh (2), Denzel Ebose (8), Eli Lenihan (5), Jack Doyle, Kelvin O’Donoghue (9), Liam Keating (11), Malik Thaim, Oscar O’Lideadha, Rapolas Buivydas (28), Ronan Collins (4)