Gibraltar women’s basketball will be playing for bronze on Friday
The Tercentenary Sport Hall became one of the big focal venues of Thursday's Island Games. With both the Men's and women's teams playing in the basketball semi-Finals there was an electric atmosphere.
The crowds trickled in slowly, many at first believing that the venue would not fill up, mistakenly so. With just minutes before the start of the early morning tip-off Gibraltar's sixth player had turned up. It might have been a working day for many, but the fans continued to stand behind their team.
Rocky the mascot made his presence to add to the already noisy atmosphere that greeted the women's team onto court.
Deep in focus the ladies walked out onto court, this their biggest day after having just missed on the semi-Finals in Gotland.
Under the helm of Luis Romero the team had found a new breathe of fresh air which was paying dividends on court. Mr Romero was the calming factor for the Ladies who clearly felt the tensions and pressure of the day, seen in their faces as they walked out. "The pressure is on them not as" he told his players as the women's squad walked onto the court to face Gotland.
Gibraltar found themselves facing a strong disciplined Gotland side who were determined to silence the crowd early. A triple pointer in the first try saw the visitors go 3-0 up.
Keeping their calm at the behest of their coach Gibraltar found themselves equalising
with their own three pointer. An intense first quarter had Gibraltar trailing, the visitors edging ahead 19-9 in the first quarter.
Joelle Moreno, just back from injury was introduced into the game. This after a first
quarter on the bench in which her coach had to several times ask her to calm down.
With the crowd behind them even as they trialed behind Gibraltar kept it's momentum working hard and with determination to come back into the game. Across the court every player was putting in their effort. Gotland was proving to be a tough opponent. Their height and discipline assisting them to stay ahead during the second quarter.
The match had attracted the attention of Minister Samantha Sacramento, a passionate supporter of women in sports.
The Gotland team kept their calm even against the constant noise from a supporting crowd. Maintaining themselves ahead.
In attack their hight difference made a difference. Gibraltar did not give up and continued to boat the on count.
Gotland's coach was to recieve a reprimand from the officials as the intensity of
the match translated across on and off the court.
Not surprisingly the match taking place on the second court did not receive much attention from the watching public.
Halftime arrived with Gotland leading 41-22, Gibraltar still very much believing they were still in the game. Not surprisingly at one point four of the player on court were Netball internationals who had played in the Hongkong four Nations.
The character shown in that tournament also brought to the court for basketball.
Gibraltar came out with all guns blazing, the crowd responding likewise. As Gibraltar
won back the ball the "oe oe oe" filled the hall. Half way through the third quarter. the match was 41-27 in favor of Gotland.
But Gibraltar was still very much in the game. Gibraltar momentarily stalled Gotland.
Gibraltar took the score to 43-32..
Gotland was to lift it's game and absorbed the pressure but were to just add nine points to their tally. The third quarter finished at 35-50 for Gotland.
As the fourth quarter started there was a second friendly battle off court. Gibraltar fans and Gotland fans battling each other.
Gibraltar although with the match now looking lost kept going. Reyes adding a triple
to make it 56-38.
Gibraltar's hopes of reaching the finals were quickly disappearing. With four minutes to go Gotland had taken it to 62 -39. They maintained their search to reduce gap and took it to 64-45 with two and a half minutes on the clock. The score went to 66-48.
The Gibraltar women's performance marked the start of an intense day for basketball. The sport enjoying huge support at the Island Games with the GSLA for the first time
having to turn people away at the door due to the numbers attending.
Gotland was to book their place in the finals with a score of 68-51. Gibraltar women’s basketball will play for bronze on Friday morning, already a success after failing to reach this stage in Gotland.