Basketball: England hit superb form

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The Independent Online

England's attempt to reach the 2003 European Championship finals gathered pace last night in Prague, where they defeated the Czech Republic 87-74 spearheaded by 31 points from Andy Betts.

England, ahead throughout, outscored the Czechs 18-4 in the first eight minutes of the last quarter to open an 84-64 advantage. Yorick Williams scored 16 points and Silas Cheung 11.

The victory builds on Saturday's 73-70 win over Slovenia at Coventry to give England three wins from two games.

England are at home to Russia and away to Portugal next month, with the return fixtures next season. The top two from each of five groups qualify for the finals, plus the best third-placed teams from four of the groups.