GREAT Britain celebrated their first Olympic basketball win since 1948 on an emotional night that also saw former Sharks coach Chris Finch confirm his intention to step down.
Great Britain won their final Group B game 90-58 against an overmatched China, getting the victory they had craved even after their dream of reaching the quarter-finals had gone with defeat to Australia two nights ago.
Finch will now depart a post he has held since the team’s inception in 2006.
While several changes appear to be imminent in British Basketball, the main one tonight was the return of smiles to the players’ faces after some frustrating results all summer long.
Finch, who has overseen the rise of the team from the backwaters of European basketball to the big stage of these Olympic Games, was not keen to talk about his own situation straight after today’s game.
“In all likelihood it is my last game, but the focus now should be on our guys at the Olympics,” he said.
“I told our guys we’re extremely proud of the way they played today, they came out with fire in their belly.
“It was important for our program to get a win and make a bit of history and the guys were up for the challenge.”
Britain’s only other Olympic win in history came the last time London hosted the Games as they beat Ireland 46-21.
Britain lost their first four games of these Olympics in frustrating circumstances, either playing top teams like Spain and Brazil close before falling short, or, in the case of Saturday night, blowing a big lead over Australia with a huge second-half collapse.
“We needed the win, and the basketball public needed it,” Finch added. “We had some guys playing their last game, whether it be for this programme or for their career, and they were inspirational tonight.”