Scotland U16 Men recorded their fourth win in as many days to finish the Group unbeaten and progress to Saturday’s semi-finals at the FIBA European Championships.
William Kemp found the basket with a three-pointer after just 11 seconds as Scotland looked to send a message, but Luxembourg scored their own just 13 seconds later to remind Scotland they were in for a tough game. Kemp, Finlay Woodward (13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) and Euan Birch (14 points, 2 rebounds) all added early baskets but Luxembourg had a reply each time as the teams remained level.
Luxembourg’s offense began to take control of the game as they opened up a seven-point lead over the Scots, and although it was briefly reduced to four, a late three-pointer meant it returned to seven after the first. 25-18.
A 6-1 streak for Scotland early in the second offered signs of encouragement as Callum Mortimer (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) and Owen Heddle (12 points, 7 rebounds) netted layups. Heddle added a three as Scotland reduced Luxembourg’s advantage to just three points and when Mortimer added one from the free throw, Luxembourg called a time out.
Heddle briefly tied the game at 30-30 but Luxembourg replied with a layup as they clung on to their lead. It didn’t last long however as Birch nailed a three-pointer to give Scotland a single point advantage. Scotland’s defence made all the difference in the second as Birch, Heddle and Benjamin Roberts all found the basket for Scotland as they opened up a lead at the half. 35-40.
It was a dream start to the third for Scotland with Kemp, Birch and Mortimer all contributing to a nine-point scoring streak in the space of just over a minute. Luxembourg called a time out to regroup and bounced back with four quick points, which they quickly turned into a 10-2 run.
With the 14-point advantage slashed to just six, Darryl Wood called a timeout for Scotland and it helped to level off the game as Scotland ended the third with a five-point advantage. 54-59.
Finley Woodward netted the first basket of the fourth but Luxembourg followed it up with a three pointer as they looked to finish the game strongly. Birch added a jump shot and Euan Johnston added his name to the scoresheet as Scotland found themselves leading by nine.
Luxembourg again called a time out, as they trailed by ten, but Johnston bucketed from downtown to keep Scotland well in front. The gap was maintained in the dying minutes as Scotland took the win in the final group game. 63-76.
The boys now have two days rest before Saturday’s semi-final.