Here are my thoughts on the 2nd day of the U18 European Championships of Division A and B.
- While Spain struggled one half to beat Belgium, the Greek team continued their arrogant play. After a superb start into the game and leading by around 20 points, they stopped to play and let Israel come back in the game. The Israeli even went ahead in the third quarter, but this was the alarm signal for Kosta Sloukas and his mates. They started a late rush to win the game with 22 points. While Nikos Pappas is still going very slow, it’s Kosta Sloukas who takes over the leader role of the team with his 23pts and 6asts. Vladimir Jankovic showed also his versatility and Zisis Sarikopoulos continues to score on his left handed hook shots.
- Serbia had no problem to win against Estonia while Lithuania beat Italy in a thriller. For the Italians, Nicolo Melli seems to start his European Championship a bit slower but he came up with 13pts yesterday. For his team, it looks like Pasquale Paolisso is the man that takes the responsibility while David Cournooh is still the main option from outside. For the Lithuanians, the 1991 born guard Augustas Peciukevicius excels with his aggressive play that brings him to the line often and puts the opponents under pressure. Tautvydas Slezas is doing his job in the middle with 22pts and 14rebs.
- Germany struggled again with the turnovers against Russia and have to play a Final against Ukraine today in order to advance to the next round. A Ukrainian team that had no chance against France that finally opened their defense box and allowed only 50 points. Chrislain Cairo improves and comes up with 12 and 9 while Alexis Tanghe led all scorers with 15 and 8.
- Another final will be played in the last group between Latvia and Bulgaria, both team have no wins so far. It was Toni Prostran that managed to hold of the Bulgarians in the final minutes with 4 late points to seal the deal. Turkey also needed the final seconds to win against Latvia to remain undefeated. Enes Kanter was once again dominant in the middle where nobody could stop him.
- The favorites Czech Republic and Slovenia had no problems to win their openers against the Netherlands and Sweden. Also Poland continued their winning streak and are now 2-0 after they defeated Belarus easily.
- The division also has already some surprises with the two Alpine countries Austria and Switzerland still being undefeated. Austria held off Montenegro and increased its chances to move to the Qualifying round while the Swiss also beat a former Yugoslavian country with Bosnia-Herzegovina.