There were blow out wins, big comebacks and close encounters on the first full day of action at the 2019 Men’s European Championship in Wałbrzych, Poland.
France and Israel got the day underway in an exciting showcase. Israel took the initiative in the first half going six points ahead as France started slowly, but Alexis Ramonet led France’s comeback in the second half, scoring 33 points in total, as France outlasted the Israelis to get their first victory on the board, 86-79.
There were big wins for Germany and Spain over Austria and the Netherlands, respectively. Germany easily dealt with newly promoted Austria, playing their first ever game in the European Championship Division A, sweeping them aside, 75-19.
Spain stormed out to a 17-5 lead over the Netherlands in the first quarter of their opening game, a healthy lead on which they built on in the other three quarters to win 83-36. Leading all scorers for the game was Spain’s Alejandro Zarzuela who made a double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Reigning European Champions Turkey did not have such an easy ride with the other newly promoted team, Russia. After going down by 11 in the first quarter, Russia bought it back to just four points at half-time with a gutsy fightback. The experience of Turkey came through in the second half as they held onto the lead and took the win, 63-52.
In the final game of the day, World Champions Great Britain opened their European campaign with a solid, 76-54, win over Italy. Gregg Warburton top scored for Great Britain with 16 points, while Marco Stupenengo led Italy’s scorers with 10 points.
The 2019 Men’s European Championship acts as the wheelchair basketball zonal qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the semi-finalist teams claiming the four available spots.
Highlights of Day 2
Photo credit – SA Images.