Scotland U16 Men fell short in their quest to reach the final of the FIBA U16 European Championships in Tirana, losing 67-77 to Andorra.
With Luxembourg leaving it late to defeat Wales by a single point, Scotland and Andorra knew who lay ahead as they battled it out in the semi-final.
It was a slow start to the game, with Andorra lay ups falling either side of Callum Mortimer’s (20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) free throws. Euan Johnston added two free throws of his own as the game was tied early on. Euan Birch (18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists) added his name to the scoresheet early on as the two sides exchanged baskets without anyone able to take advantage.
A three-pointer from Andorra was backed up by a layup as they found a five-point lead. Their streak extended to 8-0 as Scotland suffered a slow start offensively. Birch responded with an and one and two layups, alongside another layup from Saachin Chandran as they looked to end the first strongly, but the final points were Andorra’s. 17-24.
Mortimer began the second quarter scoring and Finley Woodward (10 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals) followed it up as Scotland began to reduce the deficit. Four minutes into the second it was anyone’s game as Scotland were within a basket of the lead. Jack Hencher tied the game from the free throw line as Scotland wiped out Andorra’s eight-point lead within five minutes of the second.
Cameron Watson then gave Scotland the lead, extending Scotland’s scoring run 13-4 in the second. A single point from Andorra was then cancelled out by a Mortimer three-pointer as Scotland looked to generate a notable lead. Andorra were forced into a timeout after a Woodward jump shot left Scotland up by four, which is how the half ended. 35-31.
Andorra’s offense improved with a fast-paced start to the third as they tied the game at 39-39. Roberts and Mortimer kept Scotland’s score creeping up, but Andorra took the lead with six minutes of the third remaining.
Andorra continued to make up for their lack of scoring in the second as they built up a seven-point advantage. Owen Heddle added two for Scotland as they looked to claw back the deficit for the second time in the game, but every time Andorra had a reply. Hencher, Woodward and a three-pointer from Mortimer made it a one basket game, before Woodward tied the game and Birch gave Scotland the lead in the final seconds of the third. 57-55.
Four unanswered points from Scotland in the opening 45 seconds forced Andorra into an early time out. Birch was the first to find the net after the time out as Scotland opened up an eight-point lead in the fourth. With 6:30 left on the clock Andorra netted for the first time in the quarter, and they built on that basket to chip away at the Scottish advantage.
With 3:19 left on the clock, an Andorran three-pointer left Scotland’s advantage at a single point and a layup gave them the lead seconds later. A point behind with 2:40 remaining, Darryl Wood called a time out to regroup. Andorra extended their lead to four, before Jack Hencher netted a free throw to keep Scotland in the game.
In the final minute, Callum Mortimer shot one of two from the free throw line to make it a two-point game but back-to-back Andorran baskets left Scotland with a mountain to climb. Another time out had little effect as Andorra finished strongly to take the win. 67-77.
Scotland will now face Wales tomorrow for the bronze medals.