Our Under 15 England sides enjoyed mixed fortunes as the 2018 Copenhagen Invitational Tournament got underway this morning. With both the girls and boys going 1-1 on the day, there is a lot to play for as the group stage wraps up tomorrow.
The Boys started the day with a bang as they beat Kenya 87-77 in the opening round of games. After some understandable early nerves, Coach Pena Garcés’ team grew into the contest against the African side and pulled away to a comfortable win in the 2nd half. They couldn’t continue that form though as Belgium’s TopSportSchool VBL knocked England’s record back to 1-1 after a 50-62 final score later in the day.
The Girls ended day 1 with a reversed set of results. Their first action of the tournament provided a loss to Iceland Blue after a slow start, never really clicking until after the break when time was against them. That led to a 51-66 score line but the result taught some important lessons as they would find success in their later game, defeating Sweden Yellow 65-47 to move back to .500
The competition in Denmark provides annual international exposure at an early stage of the performance pathway, with the ability to play against other countries and other styles of basketball providing an important step in the development process. That development does come in a competitive environment, but it is certainly the primary focus.
“What we’ve been looking for moving forward is a full commitment to what we’re trying to achieve and to maintaining a high level of effort throughout,” said Boys’ Assistant Coach Chris Bourne. “Most importantly, all the players understand this is a development process and this trip is about that process, not just results.”
Girls’ Head Coach Cristina Stanciuca was equally keen to stress the importance of committing to the opportunity at hand, “The games don’t get easier from here so we need to stay focussed but I know the girls can do it. We showed growth from the first game today and beat a great national programme in Sweden. I think these girls can achieve more, and they will.”
From a player’s perspective, Manchester Giants’ Victor Ndoukou was also happy with how the tournament had started, “I thought today was a great day. I thought the team worked really hard, we were competitive, had ups and downs, but I thought we did well.”
Tomorrow’s schedule sees the Boys play against one of the Danish sides, Denmark White, at 9:30am (8:30am UK time) with the Girls taking on defending champions Csata DSE from Hungary at 9:00am (8:00am UK time). Those contests will complete the group stage of the competition before classification games begin tomorrow afternoon.
For a full schedule for the tournament, please click HERE. The tip times in this document are local time, so one hour ahead of the UK.
We’ll continue to provide updates throughout the tournament on our twitter page, https://twitter.com/bballengland