It was a night to remember in Inverclyde as Scotland’s men and women booked their place at this year’s Commonwealth Games with brilliant wins at the Birmingham 2022 Basketball 3 x 3 Qualifiers.
The qualifying tournament, hosted by the National Sports Training Centre, saw Scotland take on Wales and Northern Ireland in a round-robin format, with the top two teams then battling it out in a play-off final for a place at Birmingham 2022.
Basketball 3 x 3 will make its Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, having featured at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It is a fast-paced game, played on a half court with only one basket and the winner is the first team to 21 points, or whichever team has the highest score after 10 minutes.
Both Scottish teams dominated the round-robin stages, with the women’s side of Kennedy Leonard (London Lions), Erin McGarrachan, Sian Philips (both Caledonia Pride) and Hannah Robb (Leicester Riders) starting their campaign with a 19-7 win over Northern Ireland and 21-4 over Wales.
The men’s team of Kyle Jimenez (Nottingham Hoods), Jonny Bunyan, Fraser Malcolm and Gareth Murray (all Glasgow Rocks), were all part of the Team Scotland side that reached the semi-finals at Gold Coast 2018, and they put that experience into the new 3 x 3 format. They opened with a 21-13 win against Wales and followed up with a second victory 22-4 against Northern Ireland.
In the finals, both men and women faced Northern Ireland and both took convincing wins. The men were up first, winning 21-5 to book their place at Birmingham 2022. The women quickly followed suit with a 21-13 victory, bringing the tournament to a perfect close.
While Team Scotland have been represented in men’s basketball at both Melbourne 2006 and Gold Coast 2018, women’s Head Coach Donnie MacDonald was delighted with a result that will send a women’s team to the Games for the first time:
“This is the first time a Scottish women’s team has been to a Commonwealth Games, so I think that’s bigger than anything. We’ve done something historic, but we’re not satisfied with just going to the Commonwealth Games. We’re going to go there now and actually try to upset a few people.”
Catch up with all the action here: Watch: 3×3 basketball Commonwealth Games qualification event – Live – BBC Sport
Basketball returns to Inverclyde next week with the Wheelchair 3 x 3 Qualifying Tournament on 14 April, where Scotland will be in the hunt for further places at Birmingham 2022.