HomeSportsFIBA Eurobasket Under 16s gets going with Gibraltar group opponents first on...

FIBA Eurobasket Under 16s gets going with Gibraltar group opponents first on court


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The FIBA U16 Women’s Eurobasket Division C tournament kicked off this morning at the Tercentenary Sports Hall with Malta facing Albania in the first match of the five-day competition.
Hard work over the previous days transformed the sports hall, with the line markings for other sports removed and the center court brought back to life. The Eurobasket logo marked the center circle, with FIBA logos on either side and the baskets ready for the tournament.
It was a high-octane affair between the two sides, who exchanged baskets throughout the first quarter. Two of the big guns in the tournament faced each other in Group B, the same group that included Gibraltar. The hosts were set to face Moldova later in the evening.
The first match highlighted the steep challenge Gibraltar faced in their group, with both Malta and Albania showing they were there to win. Albania took the initial lead, going into the halftime break with a 20-30 advantage in a very competitive match. Although Malta had a four-point lead at one stage, Albania turned it around to take a 10-point lead and held that advantage for the final 14 minutes before halftime. Their biggest scoring run in this period saw them put away twelve points before Malta responded, in stark contrast to Malta’s mere five points without response during the same period.
With Albania leading at halftime, they suddenly became the favorites to take the group. The match, livestreamed by FIBA, attracted over 180 subscribers from the early moments of the game, offering a chance for worldwide viewers and providing some exposure for Gibraltar.
Albania opened the scoring in the second half with a free throw before adding their next points to extend their lead to 20-33. In a fast-moving match, Albania continued to extend their lead to 24-39. Despite the end-to-end action, many missed opportunities under the basket left the game still open for a turnaround.
With just two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Albania led 40-28. They extended their lead to 43-28, with a final block in the closing seconds denying Malta a scoring opportunity.
The score was to remain static for some time in the first part of the final quarter. Albania with chances to go further ahead through free shots but not taking the opportunity.
It was not until halfway through the quarter that either side secured some points. Malta scoring am three point basket which was only given as two points to make it 43-30. Albania, after defending a second attempt responding by scoring their own three points and then adding a further two in a quick counter to bring the score to 48-30 with six minutes left on the clock.
Malta tried to claw the score back but continued misfiring under the basket with Albania taking advantage of the space being opened as the teams tired. Malta was to add their next points just seconds after Albania had reached the half century in points. With four minutes left the score at 50-32.
The match was to finish with Albania winning 50-43 after Malta reduced the deficit. Albania taking top of the table momentarily.
Gibraltar was due to play Moldova later in the evening as they open their campaign. The match between Albania and Malta was an opportunity for Gibraltar officials to assess their opponents in real-time. With some lessons will have been learnt on how to handle their opponents when they meet in the coming days.

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