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U16 European Championship 2014: 1/2 Finals

August 29th, 2014 · No Comments

This report features information on the the 2 semi-finals of the U16 European Championship of Division A in Riga next to other comments on the games between Germany and Serbia as well as Denmark and Finland.

Denmark – Finland 53 – 62

The game between the two Scandinavian teams was the first decision on the relegation to Division B. The first quarter was quite interesting as both teams competed on a good level with several interesting players being on the court. Finland could create a small advantage as they simply had more talent on the court and thy could dominate inside after the only Danish inside option was in foul trouble. Denmark however never gave up and could come back in the final minutes t keep the hope alive to stay in Division A. However, they could not reduce the difference to less than 6 points so that Finland will play a final to avoid relegation on Saturday.

MVP: Hannes Pöllä 15pts (7/8 FGs), 7rebs, 3blks

Serbia  – Germany 73 – 68

The Germans came out ready after their poor outing in the quarterfinals and immediately took the lead in the game behind the shooting of Moritz Sanders. Borisa Simanic was also more active on offense compared to the previous day as he showed different kind of scoring possibilities. Aleksandar Aranitovic was well defended by Kostja Mushidi so that the Serbian top scorer remained scoreless in the first half. Simanic though kept his team in the game but Germany dominated in the paint like you could have expected in the quarterfinals. The entry of the 1999 born Isaac Bonga gave the Germans another spark as the ultra-quick guard stole several balls and showed his talent in transition. Serbia struggled to find good scoring opportunities so that Germany went up 38-33 before the halftime break.

Germany started well into the second half to increase their lead a bit but the return of Aranitovic gave Serbia the necessary push to come back. When Isaiah Hartenstein went down with an ankle injury, the German offense slowed down a bit so that Serbia closed the gap and were down by only one before the last quarter on a corner three from Matija Radovic. Serbia had now the game in their hands and Simanic continued his shooting festival from the wing bringing his team up 63-56 with 6 minutes on the clock. But Germany came back as Mushidi controlled Aranitovic offensively. Sanders made his fifth foul but this did not stop the German run as Bonga and Lars Lagerpusch reduced the gap to only 1 point. Aranitovic did his job from the free-throw line so that Germany had the ball at –3 with 17 seconds left on the clock. They were unable to generate a good job and Serbia won the game in the end.

MVP: Borisa Simanic 27pts (11/18 FGs), 7rebs, 2asts, 3blks

France – Turkey 78 – 65

France started superbly into the game behind five points of Bathiste Tchouaffé and a great defense that totally closed the paint so that Turkey was unable to find a basket in the beginning. Even a timeout by Turkey did not change the physiognomy of the game and France increased their lad to 20-2 after 6 minutes. A second timeout by Turkey brought the change and the guys around Omer Yurtseven scored a 8-0 run to come back into the game. France controlled though the difference and went with a 10 point lead to the first quarter break. Yurtseven made quickly his third foul but it was his back-up Ahmet Duran who put the less bulky French inside players into trouble. France kept their high intensity level on defense and Tchoouaffe continued to excel in transition to keep the double-digit  lead. France found even their super athlete Yves Pons in the corner for a buzzer beating three-point shot just before the halftime break so that the score was 43-29 in their favor after the first 20 minutes.

The beginning of the second half was immediately in favor of France with Adam Mokoka adding 5 points giving his team a 21 point lead after only 2 minutes. Frank Ntilikina scored a long two pointer and Turkey needed a time out as they were down 55-31 with more than 7 minutes to play in the quarter. The break was there and France could give some minutes to the back-ups who kept the difference stable around twenty points until the end of the third quarter. Killian Tillie was irresistible on the offensive glass as the French forward put back nearly every miss by his team mates in impressive fashion. He helped France to bring their lead to 27 points with 5 minutes to play. The “Bleus” stopped to play though for the last minutes so that Turkey could reduce the gap to 13 points one minute before the end. It was too late though and France qualified for the Final on Saturday.

MVP: Killian Tillie 16pts (8/12 FGs), 17rebs (10 off), 2asts, 1blk

Spain – Latvia 71 – 81

Both teams started focused on their defense and Latvia could only score from behind the arc in the first 4 minutes. But with an improving pressure, Arturs Strautins gave the hosts their first larger lead from the free-throw line and Rodions Kurucs found the cutters for a 10-5 advantage. Karlis Garoza added 2 more and Spain needed a timeout. Eric Martinez and Victor Moreno made a 8-0 run on their own and Latvia needed a timeout to stop the Spanish rush. Latvia shot too much from outside and Spain took over the lead shortly before the first quarter break. The team from the South was now in the game and improved their defensive pressure without being able to generate a bigger lead. With the return of Kristers Zoriks, the Latvian offense had more structure again and the hosts took back the lead 5 minutes into the second quarter. Strautins got though called for his third foul on an offensive rebound attempt and Spain took back the lead on the free-throw line. But Kurucs made his fourth triple of the night followed by a dunk of Garoza and the difference was again 6 points in favor of Latvia. Zoriks added a long two and Spain needed a timeout two minutes before halftime. The teams exchanged some baskets afterwards and the Latvians went to the break with an 8 point advantage.

Martinez helped Spain with 5 quick points to stay in the game but Kurucs remained hot from behind the arc and brought the double-digit lead to Latvia. Kurucs was unstoppable adding two massive slams on the Spanish defense that gave his team the momentum. But Spain showed their heart and fighting spirit not giving up and Moreno brought the score back to 50-60 with 3 minutes to play. Spain switching to the zone defense occasionally and it helped them to force bad decisions by Latvia that Moreno used to reduce the score even more. Pol Figueras could bring the score even to a 3 point difference but Strautins knocked down a huge triple just before the 3rd quarter buzzer. Kurucs was back to start the last ten minutes and immediately scored on the back-door alley-oop again but Strautins got called his fourth foul on the next offense. Kurucs added another highlight when going baseline for the highflying dunk and Spain asked for a timeout with 7 minutes to play. Martinez and Moreno were the players showing tremendous heart on the Spanish side and they managed to bring the difference back to only 4 points with a 6-0 run. Kurucs was then called for his fifth foul with 3 minutes to play in the game and the hosts could not find solutions on offense to keep their advantage. However Spain was unable to score on the other side too and the difference was 6 points with 2 minutes to play. Martinez missed twice from the free-throw line and Latvia answered with a nice inside passing to go up 77-69. Spain was unable to come back on more time and the Latvians secured the victory from the free-throw line.

MVP: Rodions Kurucs 23pts (8/15 FGs), 5rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks

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