Hope Valley star comes back from Euros with bronze

Madeline Thompson from Hope, selected as the youngest member of the Great Britain Ladies Wheelchair Basketball team
Madeline Thompson from Hope, selected as the youngest member of the Great Britain Ladies Wheelchair Basketball team

GB wheelchair basketball women have returned from the 2013 European Championships with bronze medals.

It was a shaky start from the team, which features Hope Valley’s Maddie Thompson, in the third place play-off game with France as their opponents took the initiative and led at the end of the first quarter 11-6.

After the quarter time, Judith Hamer came into the game and gave GB a boost making a three point play and adding another basket to bring the deficit within two points. This spurred the GB Women on to take the lead but France kept it close and there was only two points in it at half time 23-21.

At half time the GB coaches changed the defensive tactics which worked for GB and kept France to only six points in the quarter. Led by Amy Conroy, GB made 17 points of their own giving them a comfortable 13 point lead into the last ten minutes.

GB obtained their bronze medal with a quality finish blowing France away to win 60-39. A dominant performance from GB’s Conroy, top scoring with 27 points, as Laurie Williams hit double figures in rebounds with 12 and Helen Freeman topped the assists with eight.

Head Coach Joe Jayaratne said: “A shaky start to the game. We were expecting that as France have come fourth at the last two or three Championships, they really wanted it.

“All the players we put on court stepped up and we got the job done. We are very happy as a team to have won bronze.

“Our number one aim was to make sure this team qualified for the World Championships, once that had been achieved we’d have been disappointed not to get bronze.”

Captain Clare Strange added: “Realistically we knew that it would be a tough jump to take on the likes of the Netherlands and Germany and get that top two spot. It was crucial for us to come here and deliver and win bronze.

“We knew we had it in us to really dominate the game. There were some nerves at the start, we sat back and played a difference defence which we decided didn’t work so we put the press on, which changed it.”

Prior to the GB women’s success, there was a thrilling game to start the day, GB Men edged out Italy by just three points, 72-69, to gain a place in the finals.