Bahamas qualify for Semi-Finals, outlast Poland

Back-to-back wins send Bahamas one step closer to their Paris dream.

VALENCIA (Spain) – Bahamas became the first team to book their place in the Semi-Finals at the OQT Spain after closing out a 90-81 success over Poland.

Two out of two to top Group B, as they can now prepare for a huge weekend in Valencia, with VJ Edgecombe, Deandre Ayton and Buddy Hield sharing 56 points in the latest win.

The turning point:

Bahamas came out firing, making their first four attempts from three-point range, and soon established an early double-digit cushion. That remained the case heading into half-time with Poland trailing 50-38, despite offering resistance to stay in touch.

The gap hit 16 points early in the third before Jeremy Sochan was the catalyst in a 14-4 response from Poland as they clawed the deficit back to just six points.

However, Bahamas managed to keep their opponents at bay and seemingly pulled clear, only to see themselves given another minor scare once more down the stretch.

TCL Player of the Game:

Buddy Hield set the tone with back-to-back threes early on, and went on to finish with a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists – along with 6 rebounds – in another influential performance.

Hield hit five three-pointers in this game, combined with six from the previous game to make it the most in a two-game stretch in an OQT in the modern era.

Edgecombe top scored with 21 points, including a three-point dagger with 34.7 seconds left, and Ayton weighed in with 18 points and nine boards.

He is the first teenager in an OQT in the modern era to score 20 or more points in back-to-back games.

While Edgecombe made seven field-goals, his missed dunk might have been one of his most impressive attemtps.

Stats don’t lie:

Bahamas started hot, and that helped do the damage in the first half – making eight of their 13 three-pointers. Meanwhile, Poland were 4-of-14 from deep at the break, and never really settled into their shooting rhythm until a brief spell in the fourth.

Bottom line:

Bahamas were better than their first game, and that’s what all you want in a tournament like this. They lock in when they need to at both ends of the floor, although have not fully closed out both games until late.

Not the ideal start for Poland, but there is little time to dwell on the result as they are back in action on Thursday against Finland in what is effectively a ‘Quarter-Final’ clash to decide who makes it into the last four.

They said:

“It was a great game, we fought through adversity. We played a great opponent, Poland are a well-coached team. Now we are just going to focus on the next game.” Bahamas guard, VJ Edgecombe.

“It was tough on a back-to-back, so it was interesting to see how the team would respond. Poland are a great team, really hard to guard and they compete. We had a lot of other players make some big time plays, especially down the stretch.” Bahamas head coach, Chris Demarco.

“Tough loss. They came out first half with a lot of threes, and that for sure broke our rhythm. We came back to a six-point deficit in the third quarter, but they scored a lot of threes and second chance points.” Poland center, Aleksander Balcerowksi.

“There were a few situations at the beginning of the game where we didn’t react well to their main guys. We fought hard. I’m really proud of my guys, that we came back twice. We knew even if we won this game, it would not be a big difference, because tomorrow is the main game.” Poland head coach, Igor Milicic.


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