The U18 3×3 World Cup took the streets right after the senior 3×3 World Cup which concluded in Nantes, France. Sri Lanka played four games in the group stage but unfortunately, they had to bid adieu to the tournament as they finished winless.
Game 01 – Sri Lanka v Andorra
Sri Lanka had the first check in the match but could not convert it into a scoring possession as they ran out of time on the shot clock. The defense from the Andorrans was tight from the start. Andorra led the game 4-0 for three minutes in the game.
Even though Sri Lanka tried to structure their offense using screens, the defense of the opposition switched swiftly to over-come the Lankan offensive ploy. The match-up in height was even but it was the defense that made the difference in the end. The tight man-to-man defense and the boxing out for rebounds put the Andorrans ahead.
Sri Lanka trailed the game by a point (9-8) with a minute and half remaining in the game, but Andorra swishing the nets off the perimeter with forty seconds remaining, sealed the fate of the game winning their first group match.
Full Time: Sri Lanka – 08 Andorra – 10
Game 02 – Sri Lanka v Germany
Both teams stepped into game after losing their previous matches of the group stage. Sri Lanka lost to Andorra while Germany lost to the Czech Republic. Sri Lanka were trailing the game by a point inside the second minute of the game, 3-4, but Germany kept on swishing the nets to snatch the lead back.
Taniya Perera of Sri Lanka suffered an ankle injury hence Sri Lanka had to play the rest of the minutes without a substitution. The Germans topped the rebound cards as they had a clear cut advantage with height. With three minutes remaining in the clock, Sri Lanka trailed the game by five points as Leia Hamza stepped on the gas dishing a shot from outside the perimeter.
It was the scoring momentum that Sri Lanka lacked in the second game. Consistency was not there to be found, while Germany made sure they converted all their possessions into points. Germany closed the deal with a minute and ten seconds remaining in the match as they went on to score 21 points.
Full time: Sri Lanka – 11 Germany – 21
Game 03 – Sri Lanka v Czech Republic
Czech Republic stepped into the court after a couple of wins in their first two games. A win against Sri Lanka would have sealed them a place in the quarter-finals.
The game was evenly poised inside the first two minutes but the road got tougher from there. Leia Hamza was in sublime form dishing out shots from the perimeter but she lacked support from the rest of the team. She needed more open areas to opt for her shots and of course a clear rebound if she had missed the shot. Sri Lanka`s positioning in the offense caused a major upset as a lot of space was left open on one side while Sri Lanka tried to utilize only one side of the court.
Czech Republic had got their recipe right. Ticking off the ingredients one by one, they had the rebounds, quick passes, tight defense and good rotation of players which eventually helped them reach 21 points with game time remaining.
Czech Republic sealed their spot in the quarter finals beating Sri Lanka 21-09.
Full time – Sri Lanka – 09 Czech Republic – 21
Game 04 – Sri Lanka v Netherlands
Sri Lanka was at the bottom of Pool B, while for the Netherlands it was a must win match to place themselves in the quarter-finals as Germany and Andorra both were equal on points.
Netherland had the first check of the game but they failed to convert it into points. Both teams seemed unsettled as it was zero-zero run for the first three minutes. It was the Dutch who scored first and went on to score 7 points at a stretch while Sri Lanka remained scoreless. Leia Hamza continued her form from the previous game as she scored off the board to draw first blood for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka were completely left out of the game in all aspects. It was a tough ask for the Lankans to drive in with the height the Dutch possessed and the same affected the rebounds. Netherlands went on to score 22 points and close the game in style but unfortunately Germany won the tie breaker by two points and beat Netherlands to the quarter-final stage.
Full Time: Sri Lanka – 03 Netherland – 22