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U16 European Championship 2014: the Finals

August 30th, 2014 · No Comments

The last day in Riga was also the last day of the summer youth events for 2014. The Final was played between the hosts from Latvia and the super-deep French team. Here is the report on the main action from the day.

Germany – Bosnia/Herzegovina 110 – 69

It was a blowout win by the Germans to finish their tournament against a Bosnian team that was totally overwhelmed and where  only the 99 borns  Dzenan Musa and Njegos Sikiras showed up. Germany was driven by Moritz Sanders in the beginning but the show came from Kostja Mushidi who scored 21 points in the first five minutes of the second half. It was also good to see the talent of the 1999 born Isaac Bonga who finished with 18 points. Musa on the other side had 31 points in this no-defense game.

MVP: Kostja Mushidi 28pts (12/21 FGs), 3rebs, 6asts, 4stls, 1blk

Serbia – Italy 66 – 72

In a hard fought game, at least by Italy, the “Azzurri” finished the tournament on the fifth place as they won in the end against a more talented but less aggressive Serbian team. Once Italy had the lead, they never let Serbia come back behind the great versatility of Lorenzo Bucarelli and the shooting efforts of Ricardo Visconti and Lorenzo Penna. Aleksandar Aranitovic did not play with full effort while Borisa Simanic was limited to 15 minutes. Italy got the win in the end being by far the more team oriented players and secured a good 5th place.

MVP: Lorenzo Bucarelli 8pts, 8rebs, 11asts

Spain – Turkey 77 – 73

The game started very slowly as both teams were quite nervous and nobody was getting good offensive opportunities. Spain decided to put Albert Simon on Omer Yurtseven and the Spaniard contained the Turkish center prospect well. Turkey though had the first run of the game scoring a few points in transition behind the passing skills of their PG Omer Al. He found Oguzhan Yarol for a couple of baskets but Spain answered with their gutsy team play so that they were up 21-16 after ten minutes. Spain did a good job to attack Yurtseven on defense so that the Turkish big had 3  fouls after only 11 minutes into the game. But Yarol and Al kept their team alive with scoring from behind the arc and finding the open team mates respectively. The game was on a high level and Sergi Martinez who played surprisingly well for the Spanish team keept his team up together with Victor Moreno. Mehmet Özden gave Turkey an advantage with his physical play on the wing and Spain needed a timeout with 2 minutes on the clock. The gap could be reduced slightly and Spain went to the locker room being just one point down.

The intensity and playing level remained high in the beginning of the second half and Yurtseven was now present on both sides of the floor with his length. S. Martinez continued to play well as undersized inside option and it was Eric Martinez that gave Spain the 52-50 lead on his first three-pointer with 4 minutes to play in the third quarter. Turkey increased their defensive pressure and forced a couple of turnovers that helped them to go on a 9-0 run 2 minutes before the 3rd quarter buzzer. Spain only scored one basket after that so that the score before the last ten minutes was 59-54 in favor of the Turks.

Al orchestrated his team to perfection so that they kept their five point advantage. Moreno with his unbelievable motor used the screens though really well and Spain was still there. Yurtseven was effective as long as he played in the post but he got called for a naive fifth foul with 5 minutes on the clock. Pol Figueras used this moment to come up with scoring options on his own and the Spanish PG forced a timeout as the difference was reduced to only 1 point. Eric Martinez brought the lead back to Spain on another triple and the game was on its maximum intensity. Spain secured the defensive rebound on the next Turkish attack and Figueras added a key drive to give his team a 5 point advantage. Turkey tried to comeback on 1-1 drives from the top but they could not find the basket or get the foul. Spain though threw the ball away on offense so that everything remained open 45 seconds before the  end at 74-69. Yarol finished in the post and Turkey sent Figueras on the line who scored once. Yarol added the put back but Moreno closed the deal from the free-throw line and Spain won the Bronze Medal after having faced elimination from the Medal round earlier in the tournament.

MVP: Sergi Martinez 16pts (6/9 FGs), 8 rebs

Latvia – France 53 – 78

The game started on a high level with both teams immediately looking for their top scorers. But then the nervosity took over and the turnovers accumulated on both sides. France tried to use their physical superiority by posting up the smaller Latvian defenders and Bathiste Tchouaffé drew the fouls on the curls. Killian Tillie went for the misses and Frank Ntilikina gave France a 5 point lead. Aboulaye Ndoye was a tough matchup for Rodions Kurucs and the French found his team mates on the offense forcing a first time out. Kristers Zoriks though brought his team back with 5 points in a row and the hosts were only down 2 at the end of the first quarter.

France offensive combinations worked well to start the second quarter and they held a five point advantage on a low score. Nobody was able to score during this phase even if Tillie gave France multiple second chances with his crazy bounce on the offensive glass. On the Latvian side, the scoring remained off as nobody was capable of scoring inside and the long range shots were not falling. Arturs Strautins used his physical force to go for a desperately needed score but Tillie grabbed another miss to finish on the put back this time. The nervosity remained high though with both teams taking bad shots or turning it over easily. Latvia had a lucky score just before the halftime buzzer and the score after twenty minutes was 22-25.

Latvia scored the first basket of the second half and added a beautiful and-1 on a backdoor play by Kurucs so that the lead was with the hosts. Tchouaffé answered though with a super tough jumper out of the dribble and the 3rd foul on Kurucs. Tillie tipped the miss on the FT and France was up again. On the defensive end, the brother of Kim closed the paint with his vertical presence but got hit in his teeth on a block. Adam Mokoka continued to control Kurucs on defense and Ntilikina scored the floater on the drive on the five minute mark, 36-29. France were in their rhythm and Mokoka added another steal and the breakaway dunk to give France a double-digit lead. But Latvia found their way back behind a massive three of Zoriks that was however answered by Tillie on the long 2 with the foul. Kurucs got called for a hard unsportsmanlike after a defensive rebound protecting the ball a bit too much and France was up 11 points again. Latvia was not too shocked though and reduced the gap again but Tillie scored the jump hook to bring the score to 51-43 before the last 10 minutes.

Ndoye opened the score of the quarter but Strautins answered with the three from the corner. Ndoye added another drive and France was up 14 quickly so that Latvia needed a timeout with 8 minutes to play. The game heated up when Hugo Blanc and Reinis Rudzitis started some kind of a brawl and both players got disqualified. Despite the massive support of their fans, Latvia could not come back immediately and were down 11 still with 5 minutes on the clock. France controlled the boards and Tillie added his next putback to give them a 15 point lead with 4 minutes to play. The Latvian will was broken and France surfed on their euphoria even making the toughest plays. The score in the end was hard for the hosts but France was the big winner of the tournament.

MVP: Killian Tillie 25pts (12/19 FGs), 18rebs, 3asts, 5stls, 2blks

All-Tournament Team

PG – Kristers Zoriks (Latvia)

SG – Bathiste Tchouaffé (France)

SF – Rodions Kurucs (Latvia)

PF – Killian Tillie (France)

C – Omer Yurtseven (Turkey)

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