GB men claimed the silver medal at the IWBF World Championships 2022 after a suspenseful game against USA.
Written by Omer Hagomer
Co-captain Lee Manning won the tip for GBR, the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist straightaway found the space to score 2 points under the basket. Co-captain Phill Pratt scored a stunning shot off the backboard to give GBR a 4-point lead.
Jeromie Meyer responded with a 3-pointer and Brian Bell launched a shot to make it a 1-point game. It was a big fight feeling, both nations were exchanging baskets. Harry Brown made a sensational layup while falling to the floor.
Both teams were lightning quick in transition. Warburton’s first touch was a bucket from the 45-degree angle. USA called for a timeout with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter, they moved the ball effectively and Meyer was accurate from long-range.
The physicality was crystal clear early on, however, Pratt remained calm and fired from the mid-range. USA were forced to call for a timeout and made a few substitutions.
Bell scored a fadeaway for 2 points to tighten the lead of GBR. Trévon Jenifer and Jacob Williams kept the hopes alive for USA with more points. GBR led by 5 points, as Manning finished the quarter with 2/2 from the free throw line, GBR 20:15 USA.
Steve Serio opened the second half with a 3-pointer. Manning answered back with 2 points inside the key then secured defensive rebounds to give GBR the advantage, but Jenifer tied the game up with a layup, GBR 22:22 USA.
GBR closed the key on defence and forced USA to take challenging shots. Warburton, Manning, and Simon Brown gave GBR the lead with heavily contested yet composed shots. Jenifer used a pick & roll to decrease the lead, except Manning proved his points were inevitable and forced USA to call for a timeout halfway into the second quarter.
Warburton defied the laws of physics to extend the lead of GBR, he scored an extraordinary layup in transition. Jenifer and Bell successfully found the space to add more points, while Serio was wide open and provided 2 extra points.
Heading into half-time, USA feared a déjà vu of the 2018 IWBF World Championship final, as Warburton was firing on all avenues. Another timeout was called with only 2 minutes remaining in the quarter, James MacSorley replaced S. Brown.
H. Brown drained a mid-range shot for 2 points. Bell responded with 2 of his own through a screen. Ultimately, it was Warburton who had the last say with another impeccable shot from the 45-degree angle. At half-time, GBR 43:32 USA.
Jenifer started off the third quarter with a coast-to-coast layup. The Welsh dragon Pratt replied with a fiery 3-pointer. Serio capitalised on the spirit of a comeback and landed a 3-pointer.
GBR called for a timeout as USA were building momentum. Serio fired another 3-pointer to reduce the lead of GBR to 4 points. The mid-range shooting machine Terry Bywater checked into the game, and along with Pratt sustained the lead for GBR. USA were fighting tooth and nail for the gold medal with pick & rolls.
GBR were in foul trouble heading into the last quarter, Ben Fox and Jim Palmer subbed in. The nerves were kicking in across the court, both teams missed imperative shots, but Serio gave USA a 1-point lead from the free throw line, GBR 50:51 USA.
Warburton was back with one goal in mind in the fourth quarter, settling the score with USA. Both teams traded a 1-point lead for the majority of the quarter. Eventually, H. Brown and Warburton managed to give GBR a 3-point lead.
Nevertheless, momentum swung like a pendulum at both ends of the floor. USA called for a timeout as Manning collected more points inside the paint. The defensive tactics of Great Britain denied USA from picking up easy points, the Americans relied on offensive rebounds to even the score multiple times.
Serio and Williams gave USA a 2-point lead from the free throw line. GBR called for a timeout with only 16 seconds remaining in the game. Warburton cut the lead to 1-point with an elegant layup. USA called for a timeout to advance the ball and narrowly held onto the lead. Full-time, GBR 66:67 USA.
S. Brown (4), K. Marsh, T. Bywater (2), H. Brown (6), P. Pratt (17), G. Warburton (24), M. Edwards, B. Fox, J. Palmer, J. Macsorely, L. Manning (13), L. Fryer.