Scotland U16 Women returned home with bronze medals this week after a successful European Championship campaign in Moldova.
The team didn’t achieve the start they’d hoped for, falling 45-64 to Cyprus in the first group game, but they recovered well to beat fellow British side Wales 61-50 in the second game.
In the final group game Malta awaited the Scots, who ensured they finished the group with a winning record, earning their second victory with with a 63-49 win.
Georgia were the opponents in the semi-final, having topped their group with wins over Moldova and Gibraltar. The teams went toe-to-toe from tip off, with Scotland doing enough to take a two-point lead into the half. Georgia found the extra they needed to have a strong third quarter offensively, opening up a six-point lead. Scotland recovered well and fought back to within a basket of the lead but Georgia held on to take their place in the final.
With bronze medals still at stake, the Scotland side regrouped and put in a superb performance in the third place playoff v hosts Moldova. An impressive first half offensive display gave Scotland a 17-point lead at the half. An even more impressive defensive display followed in the latter stages of the game, as the team conceded only three points in the fourth to secure third and the bronze medals.
Head Coach Donnie Macdonald was disappointed that the team fell short of their aim of gold, but highlighted the number of positives the team can take from the programme:
“Having gone into the tournament with the goal of bringing home gold medals, the players and staff are obviously disappointed that we were not able to achieve this. However, there were many successes within the programme, with the team spirit of the group being the main one that I will never forget – they were an incredible group to work with. This came across in our style of play, where we received a number of comments from coaches of other countries and tournament officials on how we played as a team on both offence and defence. Ultimately though, we spoke all through the programme about how there can often be very small margins between victory and defeat, which we learned to our cost in the semifinal against Georgia. But after that disappointment, it was great to see how the team bounced back on the final day to claim the bronze medal against the host nation, Moldova. I would like to thank the players, their parents and the programme staff for their dedication to the programme. I would also like to thank our SBC clubs and coaches for their support throughout.”
There was an additional reason for the Scots to celebrate too, as Taryn Cummins was selected for the tournament’s All-Star Five.