Defending champions GB Men conquered Italy to take a huge leap to the semifinals.
Written by Omer Hagomer
GBR won the tip-off and Italy’s defense held firm as the ball went out of bounds. Gregg Warburton got 2 on the scoreboard with a trademark pump fake. Italy struggled to convert under pressure.
Warburton was deadly from the mid-range and increased the lead of GBR to 4 points. Manning added 2 inside the paint and the Italians called for a timeout. Sabri Bedzeti moved through the press and got Italy on the scoresheet with a layup. In the interim, Warburton was a shooting threat from the free throw line.
Manning was collecting defensive rebounds with ease for GBR. So far Bedzeti was responsible for all of Italy’s points, he converted a 3-point play to reduce the lead. Halfway through the first quarter, GBR 8:5 ITA. Ben Fox and Jim Palmer checked into the game.
The level of intensity was rising in this game, Co-captain Phil Pratt did not miss from the free throw line, but Italy broke the full court press and Dimitri Tanghe fired 2 points off the backboard. Fox capitalised on the counter attack and responded with 2 points.
Italy struggled to stop Manning under the basket, and Warburton fired for 2 from the baseline. At the end of the quarter GBR led by 10 points as Bedzeti made 1/3 from the free throw line, GBR 18:8 ITA.
Warburton found his spot from the 45-degree angle and began the second quarter with 4 points. The British defense was a masterclass in team cohesion and forced Italy to make a few substitutions. Frustration was setting in for Italy as they sent Manning to the free throw line, Manning made 1/2.
Italy were motivated to get back in the game, Giulio Papi scored 2 points in transition and Filippo Carossino made 2 under the basket. Warburton heard the rowdy support from the bench and responded with a deep 2.
Italy were in foul trouble, as the experienced Bywater replaced Manning, he made an impact off the bench with 1/2 from the free throw line. Warburton was having the game of a lifetime; he racked up 17 points heading into half-time. Italy called for a timeout as GBR led by 19 points with two minutes remaining in the quarter.
Carossino twice launched a Hail Mary from the mid-range and scored 4 points. Bywater and Pratt responded with 2 points each respectively. At half-time, GBR 35:16 ITA.
Italy capitalised on rare turnovers and Filippo Carossino converted a 3-point play to keep Italy’s dreams alive. The Italians were building momentum as Andrea Giaretti scored 2 from the mid-range. Harry Brown, Simon Brown, and Manning were back on court.
The pride of Lancashire Warburton was firing on all cylinders, he moved up to 21 points from long-range as Italy called for a timeout. Italy still had no response for Warburton, he stole possession and made a great layup in transition to increase his personal tally.
Italy crumpled under immense defensive pressure from GBR. S. Brown got on the scoresheet after a wide-open look outside the key. Warburton drained a stunning 3-pointer heading into the last quarter to extend the lead of GBR. GBR 46:21 ITA.
Carossino had the mismatch and responded with 2 points under the basket. H. Brown was assisted by Warburton and scored 2 points with a classic layup. Driss Saaid responded with one of his own. Carossino maintained a positive mentality and added 4 points in transition. S. Brown and Pratt closed the third quarter with a pick & roll.
A timeout was called halfway into the last quarter. James MacSorley and Kyle Marsh checked into the game, as Manning was the British version of The Incredible Hulk inside the paint. Carossino responded with a much-needed 3-pointer for Italy.
Warburton delivered an inspiring performance; he topped the charts with points and assists. Italy gave it their all, yet it was simply Warburton’s ball game. Pratt got on the scoresheet with 8 points after being a great facilitator for the majority of the game.
Italy capitalised on offensive rebounds whilst Martin Edwards and Lee Fryer subbed in for GBR. GBR shared the ball with plan in mind and the result was Kyle Marsh extending the lead by 2 points, with 3 minutes remaining, GBR 69:40 ITA.
Baskets were exchanged at both ends of the floor. Edwards secured 1/2 from the free throw line and Fryer launched a shot for 2 points to close the game, GBR 72:44 ITA.
GB Men’s Harry Brown commented on the performance:
“It was a game where we wanted to go into it strong and we wanted to start strong, especially after yesterdays performance. I think the result shows this and the fact we all stuck together. It shows the depth of the squad and the fact that we all got to play. It was a really good performance from everyone!”
On the preparations for the semi-final:
“So it’s quite nice that we’ve got a day off tomorrow to get some video on Iran. We played them in the group so we know a lot about how they play, and hopefully we can get everything tactically sound in training to get the W.”
Brown (6), K. Marsh (2), T. Bywater (5), H. Brown (2), P. Pratt (8), G. Warburton (32), M. Edwards (1), B. Fox (2), J. Palmer, J. Macsorely, L. Manning (12), L. Fryer (2)