On Thursday 30th June London United U17’s traveled to Poland to take part in the 14th International Basketball Tournament, Gniezno. The festival of basketball held in Gniezo is a opportunity for our young players to gain experience on an international stage whilst maintain competition in the off season period.
In day one of the competition United started with high intensity to score 9 unanswered points from transition to take a 22-7 lead in Q2 against Polish side Anwil Wloclawek. A good defensive performance saw out team limiting the Polish side to under 10 points each quarter resulting in a commanding win 59-26. (22-7, 16-8, 13-4, 8-7).
Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski said: “It was a tricky game for us as it’s always difficult to perform well in a first game after a 2 month break, but our boys showed big heart and executed very well our defensive goals which helped us establish a good lead.”
Top scorers: C Campbell 14, T. Stefanovic 13, K. Kanye 7, A. Khalil 6, D. Mills 6, A. Butrimas 4, K. Williams 3, E. Poorman 2, K. Willis 2, N. Ivey 2.
In the 2nd game of the day our team faced the weakest opposition of the tournament, jumping to an early lead and controlling from beginning to the end. Final score: London United 54 – 28 Realajos.
Coach Daniel used a 12 player rotation giving important experience to the entire roster.
Head Coach Daniel said: “It was a tricky game to play as the Spanish team was 1 year younger and we struggled to keep composure on many possessions but most important is that I could us
e everyone from the team and claimed our 2nd win of the day.”
Top scorers: C Campbell 12, D. Mills 9, A. Khalil 8, S. Tomasevic 8.
London. United 60 – 31 UKS “IFLO” Biala Podlaska
The 2nd day of the tournament and our boys faced Polish side from Biala Podlaska.
From the very first whistle our team dictated the tempo of the game taking an early lead 24-8 and never looked back. Carl Campbell kept the crowd entertained with a couple of impressive dunks with London United claiming another win 60-31.
Coach Daniel Szatkowski said: “It’s amazing to see our team
constantly improving, understanding how to play as a unit and perform with high intensity and IQ when it’s needed most. Another great performance to put us in a head to head run with a Berlin team to secure a spot in the final”.
London United 42 – 40 Berlin Moabit
On a Saturday evening we faced an extremely talented side from Berlin. The Germans performances so far in the tournament showed it was going to be a massive clash with a final game for the winner. With the German team an ‘All Star’ selection from 3 Berlin clubs they had put on an impressive display from the beginning of the tournament.
It was the German team that took an early lead 12-3 with great 3 point performance and intensive defence. Consistency on defence plus amazing execution on offence was difficult to handle for our boys who managed to score only 14 points in the first half (26-14). It was by a long shot the lowest scoring game for our young Londoners.
Motivation from Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski saw our team come out of the locker rooms and into the 3rd Q with renewed energy. Within 2 minutes of play we had cut the German’s lead to 4 points led by a dominating inside performance Carl Campbell.
Going into the final stanza with United trailing 29-25 both sides put in a great performane on defence, our side was led by Mills. Poorman, Kanye and Khalil. With 2 minutes left in the game, 2 free throws from Campbell gave United a 3 point lead. However, Berlin responded with a triple to tie the game.
With 25 seconds on the clock, Mills drove to the basket to score the winning layup to give our team an important win against the formidable team from Germany.
Coach Daniel Szatkowski said: “From the beginning we knew it would be a really tough game for us as Berlin was a very talented and athletic team. Their 3 points shooting was excellent despite pressure from our guards. It was great to see our team pulling such a great comeback against a quality team and proving the progress that we have made. It gives us even more hunger to work and improve our performance in tomorrow’s final. Really impressive defence performance by our guards.”
Our boys will now face the home team MKK Gniezno in the final which is to tip at 12:15 local time.
Top scorers: C Campbell 14, D Mills 7, N Ivey 6, K Kanye 6, T Stefanovic 4, A Khalil 4, E Poorman 1 (7 st 7 rb).
On Sunday 3rd of July the final of the 14th international tournament in Gniezno, Poland took place with our boys facing the local team MKK Gniezno. With the venue full of 600+ supporters it was a great atmosphere for our boys to play in. After previously beating the strong Berlin team in the semifinals our boys started the final game with a good energy to take a 19-11 lead at end of the 1st Q led by C. Campbell who was dominating inside the key.
The local team started the 2nd half with great 3 point shooting and extended their lead to 15 points by the end of the 3rd. Despite good effort from our boys in 4th and cutting the lead to 7 points it was a MKK. Gniezno who finished stronger. Final score London United 53 -63 MKK Gniezno.
Head coach Daniel said: “It was a very unique experience for our boys to play in front of 600-700 people and I’m happy we had the opportunity to face such a good team who was physically stronger than us. I think this experience will give our team a taste of what real basketball is about. We need to learn how to cope with a pressure from a crowd and compose ourselves in such difficult games. Beating a very strong. Berlin team from being behind 14 points at HT plus have a chance to play in front of big crowd is a experience that no one can deny. We are coming back to London stronger.”
Top scorers: Campbell 20, K. Kanye 12, K. Willis 7, E. Poorman 6, S. Tomasevic 4, K. Williams 2, D. Mills 2.