United U16’s face International competition 09/07/2015
Our young team boarded a plane to Poland on Thursday evening to compete in an international tournament with teams from Germany, Poland and Belarus.
As our boys arrived to Gniezno, we started off the tournament against an older group from MKK Kielce on Friday morning. Our team lost first Quarter 10-2 but never gave up and won 2nd period 12-4. The Londoners went to head to head with the older polish team, taking the lead in the 3rd Quarter. However it was the Polish side who pulled away against our younger team and sealed the win 47-32. D. Mills lead our team with 14, followed by C. Campbell with 6.
In our second game we faced Zastal Zielona Gora, the junior team from the best Pro team in Poland who regularly competes in Euroleague.
As underdogs, our young squad never feared the more experienced team from Poland and started the game with confidence taking the lead after the first quarter 14-13.
In the 2nd quarter neither team could establish a lead of more than 3 points with the score tied at the half time break, 26-26.
The 3rd quarter saw the Polish side making 5 triples to pull away to a safe lead of 15 points, never looking back to seal a 62-40 win. A. Khalil led with 8 points, K. Kanye 6, C. Campbell 6, T. Momudu 6.
In the final game of the group stage our U16’s faced local opposition UKS Srem to play for 3rd place in the group. Our team jumped in to take an early lead and took an easy win 47-17.
The first round of classification saw our young Londoners facing the strong polish side UKS Bielsko Biala. Throughout the first 3 quarters neither team could establish lead bigger than five points.
However it was our team that picked the right rhythm and won the final quarter 20:4 sealing our 2nd win of the tournament. C. Campbell 16, T. Momudu 10, K. Kanye 9, D. Mills 9, A. Khalil 6, J. Monte 4, N. Ivey 4, K. Willis 2.
In our last game of the tournament, our side faced the host team playing for 5th place. It was the local team who took the lead after the first quarter as our team struggled with shooting efficiency.
However our young squad improved their defence holding the opponents to only 5 points in the 2nd period taking the lead at half time, 17-15. The 3rd quarter saw the Polish side improving their efficiency and taking a small lead going into the final stanza.
As both teams went head to head throughout the final period, it was the home team with a 2 point advantage with 15 seconds left in the game. However, United point guard Keith Kanye battled through the Polish team’s defence to send the game into overtime.
Unfortunately, it was the host team who took OT by 2 points, sealing the game 40-38. Kanye 13, A. Khalil 7, C. Campbell 6, T. Momudu 5, D. Mills 3, J. Monte 2, N. Ivey 2
Apart from a great basketball experience our young team could enjoy Poland off court too.
The hosts ensured that our players got to know Polish culture including a sightseeing trip to a Cathedral, and having enjoying relaxation in an Aqua park.
Here is what Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski had to say about the trip:
“It was amazing time in Poland both, on and off court for our U16’s. As we faced older teams we learnt a lot about ball movement, team defence and composure. After each game we had a meeting discussing all issues and I could see our young players maturing from game to game. Our point guards improved massively in terms of running the team. Our center Carl Campbell was voted MVP of the whole tournament which clearly shows how talented this group is. Playing teams abroad is a great way of improving our game.
Our boys spent lots of time learning about culture and getting to know basketball players from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Belarus.
Lots of good contacts, high level basketball, a great experience for our players on and off court, this is the best way to spend the off season and the best way for our young players to grow and justifies putting international exposure at the heart of our ethos”.