Brave basketball players go down fighting

GB's basketball team found the going tough as they were well-beaten in their first two matches.

A 66-22 defeat against Turkey was followed by a 72-32 loss against Italy.

The team improved as the competition wore on, going down 43-31 against Germany before finishing with a two point reverse against Austria.

Craig Harris managed the team together with Tamir Grant. Harris said: "The first game was a little one-sided. I put that down to nerves and fitness.

"The Italy game was closer than the scoreline reflected. We created chances but could not execute.

"The match against Germany was very close. We were within three points going into the last quarter of the match. Once again, we paid for missed chances."

GB held a lead for the first time in the competition in a thrilling finale against the hosts. But they were unable to hang on with luck going against them in the dying stages.

"It came down to fitness," said Harris. "They won it with two free throws in the last couple of minutes.

"We had a chance in the final seconds that hit the backboard and rolled around the rim."

Harris tried to take the positives out of the Vienna experience and he explained the vision for the future.

"For a lot of these guys it was their first competition and first Games they played in," he said. "The whole team improved as time went on.

"Tamir and I have a mission. Our plan was to get a team together for 2013. Vienna was really just a testing ground to play in this level of competition. The boys now realise the standard and level they need to get to.

"We're now going to build a strong squad over the next two years to ensure we don't get left behind."

Small forward/power forward Joe Curtis received special praise from Harris, who said: "Joe had an outstanding competition."

Another stand out player was point guard Joshua Cramer. Harris said: "Josh played an incredible defence against Germany and had a very good competition."

Results:

Match 4 – GB 45 Austria 47
Match 3 – Germany 43 GB 31
Match 2 – GB 32 Italy 72
Match 1 - GB 22 Turkey 61

    Last updated: 11:54am, July 20 2011