United U15 place 3rd in International tournament
The first game of day 2 in Poland saw our team getting a baptism of fire from Stelmet Zielona Gora. Tournament favourites Stelmet jumped to an early lead leaving no chance to our young side. Trailing 60-38 at the half time break coach Emerson decided to use the whole rotation of 13 players which saw them collecting much needed experience. United’s K.Szczawinski led all scorers with 27 points and 16 rebounds to finish the game the wrong side of 113:68.
In the 2nd game of the day our team faced Kuzina Koszykowki Stalowa Wola coached by J. Szambelan who led Poland’s U17 National team to 2nd place in the U17 FIBA World Championship in 2010.
United came out focused following the example from our fierce guard P Reyes who scored 14 points in the first period. Much improved defence in the 2nd period helped to limit the Polish opposition to 30 points and take a 9 point lead into the changing rooms.
Our young Londoners maintained their intensity into the 2nd half of the game getting easy points from transition.
P.Reyes recorded an amazing triple with double 31 points, 13 assist and 12 rebounds to lead United to a 80-49 win.
Coach Emerson said: “Having a tough morning game it was critical for us to regroup and bounce back. The boys did amazing job on defence and played together on both ends. Phoenix made the whole team play better and our defence was run by Z.Makwana.
On the 3rd and last day of the tournament we faced Asseco Gdynia coached by Poland U15’s Head coach Michal Mroz. Despite a promising start and early lead (12-10), full court press from Asseco Gdynia gave our team problems bringing the ball down the court with United trailing 18-23 at the end of Q1.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the most of the 2nd period to finish 35-46 at half time.
In the 3rd, United struggled against an aggressive full court defence with Asseco expanding their lead to 21 points (41-62).
United never gave up and came out strong for the final quarter with a 17-0 run and 2 back to back triples from Szczawinski (29 points, 22 rebounds) cutting Asseco’s lead down to 4 (58-62).
However with Szczawinski and Reyes fouled out of the game Asseco took the opportunity to respond with 0-9 to finish the game 66-88.
Head coach Emerson Westerby said: ” The boys put great effort and stayed as a unit but fatigue (4 games within 2 days) took its toll. The Polish team was really well coached and the fact that we could compete with them regardless of our foul trouble is great news for our future. ”
Over all our boys finished 3rd in a high level tournament with K Szczawinski top scorer of the tournament with 84 points (21 ppg) and voted into the tournament All Star Team with P. Reyes placing 3rd of top scorers with 72 (18 ppg) and taking a game MVP.
After the tournament our boys faced a home team game UKS Chromik Zary in a friendly game on Sunday evening. Our boys claimed a win against the team who had previously defeated us in the opening game of a tournament. Coach Emerson made use of the whole team rotation allowing 5 of our players to make double digits. P. Reyes and L.Willetts with 15 each, P. Njeru 13, K. Kolesnikovas and P. Karvazoni 10 each. They were followed by W.Cichocki with 9 points.
Coach Emerson: “It is amazing to see our team come together and realise how good we can be. Finishing our trip with a W versus the home team is another big positive for us.”