Basketball: England routed as Scots eye European title

Kieron Achara: 'A talented core'. Picture: Robert Perry
Kieron Achara: 'A talented core'. Picture: Robert Perry
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IT HAS been over a decade since the resident professional team decamped for Glasgow but Meadowbank rocked once again to the beat of a basketball’s bounce at the weekend. Scotland performed in tune with consecutive victories over England that, coach Iain Maclean hopes, can provide a platform on which a youthful national side can build.

The Auld Enemy were routed 83-59 on Saturday and though the visitors proved much more obdurate last night, Glasgow Rocks guard Jonny Bunyan had a game-best 17 points as the Scots ground out a 74-66 victory.

In fairness, England, thrown together at the last minute, had done their bonding at the motorway services on the way up north. But these were worthwhile exercises for Maclean as he aims towards next summer’s European Championships, and beyond to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

“We’ve never won a European title but with this group, I’ve been saying that’s a realistic aim next year,” said the one-time Rocks playcaller. “We’ve got a good nucleus. We’ve had good results against Luxembourg and now England. A few guys have shown they’ve got the desire and belief. And if we stay together and stay focused, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be aiming high.” Olympian Kieron Achara said: “If we get to the Commonwealth Games in 2018, I think there’s a really talented core.”

Elsewhere, Scotland’s women, fielding a development line-up, lost 93-84 in overtime to Austria despite a game-high 26 points by GB Under-20 international Deanne Hayward. Edinburgh-born guard Rose Anderson should find out today if she has been included in GB’s 12-strong squad for EuroBasket which begins in France next Saturday.