Great Britain coach Damian Jennings admits he is taking a trip into the unknown when his young women’s side face Belgium on Friday in the opening game of the European Under-20 Championships in Macedonia.
Jennings’ prospects, bidding to earn promotion to Division A, have impressed in their build-up to the tournament with a series of solid performances, sparked by a six-strong group of players with senior experience including Charlotte Stoddart and Mairi Buchan.
Despite the loss of probable starter Georgia Jones to injury, GB go into the event looking to improve on last summer’s ninth place finish – with the initial aim of ending up in the top four of a five-team group which contains Belgium and Hungary – who inflicted defeats on the British 12 months ago – as well as hosts Macedonia and the Czech Republic.
“We won four of our five warm-up games and we showed growth over each of them,” Jennings said. “We have 12 players with fantastic attitudes. The chemistry was instant. I didn’t have to do much to generate that. But the truth is I don’t know how we’ll do. Youth basketball is so cyclical. I can’t be sure what the other teams will be like because last year’s Under-20s change as players move up into the senior teams.
“It’s a tough group. Belgium and Hungary were strong last summer. You have the hosts there who we don’t know much about. And the Czechs have come down from Division A. So we’ll see how it goes and try to do the best we can.”