England enjoyed some revenge on Monday morning to beat tournament hosts Saint Charles 76-49 at the second time of asking and claim 5th place at the 2019 Lions Cup.
With just one game on offer to finish the tournament, England were able to put 100% effort into the classification game to decide 5th and 6th place. Their opponent would be a side they’d already met as part of the Pool A schedule, Saint Charles, losing 35-32 on Sunday morning in their first encounter.
There would be no repeat of that defeat though as Coach Bourne’s side stormed out to an early lead that they’d never relinquish. Leading 17-12 after the 1st quarter, England could have been ahead by more but took their eye off the ball in the final few minutes of the frame to allow Saint Charles a few quick baskets. Those defensive lapses would remain but became less frequent as the English lead grew, pushing the score to 33-21 by the half. More importantly, England were able to truly exert their will on the contest, establishing themselves as the pace setters and playing the sort of game they wanted to play.
L I O N S C U P 🏆🇫🇷— Basketball England (@bballengland) April 22, 2019
The boys are really showing their personality and character in this performance. Hopefully they can continue this into the second half. #TogetherWeAreBasketbALL pic.twitter.com/u1Fqmqtrhu
That spelled curtains for the hosts as England then began to pull away in the 2nd half. The only reason the difference between the sides didn't grow in the 3rd quarter was England’s struggles to string together a consistent passage of dominant play, instead limiting their output to a series of plays rather than a sustained burst. Still, a 51-38 lead at three-quarter time was aided by England winning the 4th frame 25-11 to sign off their Lions Cup campaign in style.
A number of England’s young players can be delighted to have finished the tournament with their best performance in Paris. Louie Tucker had a game high 20 points to go with eight rebounds, an assist and a block. Dara Adeyemi has been a monster on the glass throughout the tournament, punishing Saint Charles today with 17 rebounds (7 on offence) to go with 14 points and a block. Myles Alcindor and Latrell Davis both made it into double digits with 12 points each, with Davis also continuing to be a pest of defence with an impressive four steals.
“Today’s game was a great team effort by everyone, they really pulled together and all the guys finished strong,” said Assistant Coach Adam Sewell when reflecting on the win vs Saint Charles. “Individually and as a team, the guys did everything that we asked of them. A great job!”
Looking back at the tournament as a whole, Head Coach Chris Bourne had a lot of praise for his young side, “It’s been a great tournament overall. There’s been no real low points in the sense that everything that has happened has been a learning opportunity and the guys have worked really hard in order to get better from that.”
“It was nice for the boys to get that win at the end against a team that we’d lost to a couple of days ago as well. Ultimately, the guys have done what we asked them to do. We said the challenge is to get better every day, every game, and we’ve done that. We can never be fully satisfied, we can be pleased with what we’ve done for sure but this experience needs to be motivation for these guys to keep working and keep developing and keep getting better moving forward.”
England’s 5th place finish was a solid effort in the team’s first ever Lions Cup appearance. More importantly, the experiences gained from five games against some top European teams will no doubt be priceless for the 12 young player on this year’s roster. Both on the court as well as off it, the 2019 Lions Cup can certainly be considered a success.
For stats and images from this morning’s game, plus links to recaps from Day 1 and 2 of this year’s Lions Cup, please use the buttons below.