After a narrow win earlier in the day, the U18 Men grabbed a second close victory in the 2nd rubber of their 3 game series 56-54. Brian Amabilino Perez build on his strong performance from game one with a team high 9 points in the contest.
Coach Bucknall once again used the match to experiement with line ups and playing time, allowing his roster to get quality minutes. That mindset was reflected in Zion Tordoff, Luke Mitchell and Josh Apple all contributing 8 points apiece in what was another balanced performance by the visitors.
"We are on track and I’m liking how the team is grinding out wins in the close games." Coach Bucknall said.
(Luke Mitchell grabbed 8 points in the contest - FIBA Europe)
England started somewhat slugglishly, allowing the hosts to find their range as they established a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Dutch were pegged back by stiffling defence in the 2nd however and following a big dunk from Nelson Boachie-Yiadom the sparked the team into life, England allowing just 3 points whilst adding 13 of their own to go into the break up 23-20. Then, much like earlier in the day, the game was a tight one where neither side could comfortably pull away.
Tied at 37 to start the 4th, England managed to put together some offensive rhythm that had been absent earlier in the day, keeping the game close before pulling away in the final moments. Game 1 hero RJ Eytle-Rock produced a 3 point play to put England up 55-52 before the Netherlands closed to within 1. But with little time left on the clock, Luke Mitchell was able to split a pair of free throws and the side maintained their 2 point advantage until the buzzer.
After the game, Mitchell was pleased with how things were shaping up "We continue to work hard and things are going in the right direction. Credit goes to some great defensive and energy even when we were tired."
The team play their final game of the series this morning before getting their European Championships underway on 29th July against Ukraine.