U22 Wheelchair Basketball European Championships: Day 6 - Finals
A packed crowd was treated to a thrilling end to the U22 Wheelchair Basketball European Championship as the eight teams battled it out to decide their final positions.
7th/8th Play Off: Spain v the Netherlands
The Netherlands were first on the scoreboard in a quarter that saw both teams struggling to find the basket – the game standing at 2-2 with five minutes gone. Spain then picked up the pace to take a 10-2 lead into the second period.
The home team continued to build upon their advantage, working up to 16-2 before the Netherlands hit back, closing the gap to six points – Spain leading 21-15 at half time.
But the visitors continued their comeback to edge ahead 28-24 by the end of the third quarter.
The final 10 minutes proved to be an extremely close affair, but the Netherlands closed out the victory 32-27.
5th/6th Play Off: France v Italy
After 4 minutes of play, it was Italy who kicked off the scoring; however, France quickly responded to tie the game at 2-2. Nevertheless Italy continued to make more of their opportunities to finish the first quarter ahead by 14-8.
The Italians came out firing at the start of the second, racing to 19-10 before sealing a 29-18 advantage at half time.
Italy remained dominant in the third, consolidating their lead to enter the final 10 minutes up by 52-36.
The visitors remained in strong form in the fourth, preventing the French from getting back into the game as Italy worked their way to a 72-52 win.
Bronze Medal Game: Turkey v Great Britain
With their qualification for the World Championships already secured, both teams were determined back up their threat with a European medal.
Despite Turkey heading to a 4-0 lead, it was Great Britain who were up by end of the first quarter having fired home their shots to take a 21-14 lead.
The second was another tight affair, GB keeping the edge as they out-shot their rivals by 12-10.
But Turkey hit back in the third, closing the host nation’s lead to just two points by the end of the quarter – GB ahead by 42-40.
The home team’s resurgence continued in the third, the gritty comeback completed with Turkey taking home the Bronze 56-46.
GB Head Coach Mat Foden said: " It was good start by us: Richard Sargent found his touch early on with his shooting and we looked confident going into half time up by 9 points.
“Turkey are a team that don't give up though and we knew that they would come back hard at some point and it was whether we could hold them off. Unfortunately we went away from what we'd been doing well in the 1st half and Turkey took advantage of that. Phil Pratt was a constant threat but we didn't use him as much as we should have done and our decision making let us down towards the end of the game.
“We can be really proud of the way we've played our basketball this tournament, and although we haven't finished with a medal, we have qualified for the Junior World Championships next year and we have to go away and work hard in our preparation for that."
Final: Germany v Sweden
The final was a thrilling match, treating a packed crowd to high quality, fast paced basketball.
It was Germany who entered the second quarter up by the narrowest of margins, having outshot Sweden by 15-14.
Indeed, the second quarter was another tense affair which saw Germany just managing to maintain the edge to enter half time with a 28-25 lead.
However, the visitors came out on fire after half time: playing their way back to a 41-39 with just 10 minutes to go.
Sweden continued to edge ahead in the final quarter before Germany hit back to lead 48-47, from there on in the teams took it in turn with the lead and with 2 minutes 40 to go it was Germany still with a one point lead 54-53. From there the home team soared to a 62-53 victory, becoming the 2012 U22 European Champions.
1st: Germany (Qualified for the 2013 World Championships)
2nd: Sweden (Qualified for the 2013 World Championships)
3rd: Turkey (Qualified for the 2013 World Championships - hosts)
4th: Great Britain (Qualified for the 2013 World Championships)
5th: Italy (Qualfied for the 2013 World Championships)
7th: The Netherlands
For all of the tournament's results please click here