Scotland U16 Men missed out on bronze at the FIBA U16 European Championships Division C as they fell 84-72 to Wales. The two sides were battling it out for the medals after their respective semi-final defeats to Andorra and Luxembourg the previous day.
It was Wales who scored the first basket of the game but the lead only lasted 22 seconds as Finley Woodward’s (9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) jump shot got Scotland up and running. The sides traded basket for basket but both Euan Birch (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) and Owen Heddle (14 points, 9 rebounds) scored from outside the arc, meaning Scotland opened up a five-point lead.
Wales looked to get back on level terms and they clawed away at the cushion, with Scotland only offering a Callum Mortimer (10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) free throw as response. Heddle again found the basket but a three-pointer from the Welsh meant they regained the lead. Just as it looked like that’s how the quarter would end, Benjamin Roberts added a layup to make it advantage Scotland. 16-15.
Wales began the second with a five-point streak, opening up a lead for the first time. Heddle tied the game at 20-20 for Scotland and after again trading baskets a Mortimer three put the Scots ahead again.
From there though it was all Wales and, aside from a Cameron Watson three-pointer, Wales scored 15 unanswered points to take a ten-point advantage at the half. 30-40.
Less than 30 seconds into the third Birch sunk a three as Scotland looked to get back into the game. Jack Hencher followed it up with a layup as Wales’ advantage was halved in just over a minute. Wales shot two for two from the free throw line but Birch again bucketed a three as Scotland enjoyed a fast-paced start to the third.
With less than three minutes played it was back to a one-basket game as Watson added to Scotland’s scoring run, which was now 10-2. A Welsh layup was met by a Roberts three-pointer and Woodward added another as the ten-point Welsh advantage was overturned.
With the scorecard now level, both sides exchanged the lead several times before a late 10-0 run from Wales restored the advantage Scotland had worked so hard to cancel out. 51-60.
Wales started the fourth with back-to-back baskets as they looked to take the game out of Scotland’s reach. As the gap reached a game-high 15, Darryl Wood called a timeout to try and regroup the team one last time. Heddle found the basket upon the team’s return to the court and Birch added another.
The hope was short lived as Wales netter five without reply. Mortimer shot four for four from the free throw but Wales did enough to maintain a 15-point lead heading into the final five minutes. Another Scottish timeout followed, but Wales replied to every basket Scotland netted as they pushed to find a way back.
Heddle and Kemp added five without reply in the final minute as Scotland reduced the Welsh advantage to ten but it was too little too late as Wales added two free throws and claimed the bronze in Albania. 72-84.