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U18 European Championship 2013: Medal Day

July 28th, 2013 · 3 Comments

The day started with a double-overtime thriller where Bosnia/Herzegovina secured their spot in Division A over Ukraine. Later in the day, it was about the medals.

Latvia – Spain 56-57

No team could create an advantage from the start but Spain had a quick loss of Ilimane Diop who got called twice for an offensive foul. Latvia was up by a small margin on Davis Geks scoring and Ivars Zvigurs attacking of the basket. Kristaps Porzingis got his second foul also early on but this did not change the game situation at that moment. However, when Anzejs Pasecniks made his second as well, Latvia was a bit in trouble in their big man rotation already in the first quarter. But Rolands Smits scored the layup on the buzzer and the hosts went to the first break at the score of 17-12.

Porzingis got called for his third foul quickly in the second quarter and Spain used this to cut the lead slightly. Latvia dominated the boards and found Smits in the corner to go up by 7 and force a Spanish timeout. Geks added another triple but Agusti Sans answered with a 2+1 immediately. Spain was playing better at that moment so that the Latvian coaches decided to bring Porzingis back despite his three fouls. He rejected two shots quickly and changed again the momentum of the game. Latvia went up again to +9. Spain could however score a fast break on the halftime buzzer to bring the difference to 7.

Latvia came better out of the locker room and went 11 points ahead after only two minutes. Geks showed good reads on defense and Zvigurs scored on the offensive rebound. Spain changed to a 1-3-1 zone and the Baltic players immediately turned it over twice which gave Sans and Marc Garcia the possibility to bring it back to 6 points. Sans took over like a leader on offense and scored several baskets in a row when Geks ended the Latvian mess with a three pointer. Porzingis nailed the long two and blocked the dunk attempts of Diop and the momentum seemed to have changed again. But Sans was present another time and scored the jumper shortly before the last break.

Latvia got a blow quickly as Pasecniks fouled out right at the beginning of the fourth quarter and Juan Hernangomez gave Spain their first lead for a long time with the corner triple. But Porzingis did not like this as he made his first long range shot of the game and Spain had to take a timeout. Latvia went up with six points again but Sans knocked down a triple to keep his team in the game. Alberto Martin scored a huge floater to enter the last two minutes and everything was possible. Rihards Lomasz scored two free-throws followed by another block by Porzingis on a shot attempts of Nogues but Latvia turned it over afterwards. Garcia was open in the corner and his team mates found him so that he tied the score again. Spain chose to double the Latvian guards but Diop fouled which seemed not to bother the Spanish coaches. Kristaps Plavnieks made both shots but Hernangomez scored the enormous step back three-pointer to give Spain a 1pt lead with 2.6 seconds on the clock. Latvia found Porzingis in the low post but his turn around fade away hit only the rim so that Spain could celebrate the Bronze Medal.

Croatia  – Turkey 74 – 81

Despite an early three pointer by Cedi Osman, Croatia had the better start into the game as Paolo Marinelli either found an open team mate or scored by himself. Marko Arapovic did a nice job as well playing from the top of the key and he helped his team to get a 16-8 lead after only 5 minutes. Turkey found Emircan Kosut twice after the time out but it was only for a short time as the Turkish offense went back to some 1-1 situations that Croatia used to get a ten point lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter. Dogukan Sanli was taking over a bit for Turkey then and he brought his team back to –6 at the first break.

Croatia struggled offensively early on in the period and Turkey used this to cut the different to two points on a triple of Okben Ulubay. The forward added another basket in transition and the game was tied. Croatia started to use their bench but the Turks could not use this create a lead so that Bosnjak gave his team a small lead again. Berk Demir added some points for Turkey while Marinelli and Ulubay exchanged three-pointers so that the game remained tied. Sipahi scored the last basket of the first half and Turkey was up by one point at the break.

The second half started with Ulubay forcing a bit too much so that Croatia had the chance to score some baskets in the break. But Sipahi was now finding his team mates in the paint so that Turkey was in the game however. Nobody could create a real lead but the level of the game was not good as both teams struggled offensively.Turkey had a bit of a break after the middle of the period and could generate a seven point lead with two and half minutes to go. But Tomislav Gabric scored a big one from 45 degrees. However Sipahi knocked down a triple as well while Lovro Mazalin made 3 shots from the free-throw line. Turkey could though go to the last break with a 6 point lead as Sipahi found his corner shooter on the buzzer.

James Birsen opened the last quarter with his typical three point shot from the same spot than yesterday so that Turkey looked more and more having the control of the game. Croatia started to struggle on offense as Bosnjak airballed a three-pointer on his side while Birsen added a big one on the offensive glass to go up by 11. But Turkey missed a couple of opportunities to go ahead further so that the Croats remained in the game. But the time was running and nobody really came up with the scoring for Croatia. When Marinelli made his fifth foul with 5 minutes on the clock, everything looked perfect for Turkey to win the Gold Medal. The difference remained at 9 for several minutes until the backup Josip Gulam scored three points on two breaks so that Croatia could still believe with 3 minutes on the clock as Sipahi had to sit for his fifth foul. Ulubay though took over with a huge triple from 45 degrees that looked to be the dagger as the Croats were unable to answer it on the offense. Croatia tried it with a timeout to have a last chance to turn it around but Mazalin missed the free-throws that could have cut the lead significantly. Gabric nailed the big three pointer though with 20 seconds on the clock and the difference was only 4 points as Ulubay missed from the free-throw line. But the Croats could not find a good shot so that Turkey went for Gold this time for sure.

All-Tournament Team

  • Kenan Sipahi (Turkey) – MVP
  • Paolo Marinelli (Croatia)
  • Domagoj Bosnjak (Croatia)
  • Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia)
  • Anzejs Pasecniks (Latvia)

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Boris // Jul 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Nice to see Croatia claimd medal with team game for change. To bad wi missed I. Bender, but I’m glad Hezonja was not here. mostley because this kids showed them self, but also to others they also can play some good basketball. And Hezonja should not play this junior competitions anway, only harming him. If there was any brain in our federation now they would not send Mazalin to U-16 championship. He got nothing to prove there, only can get wrong mentality like Hezonja and Saric did overdominating when they played with their age kids

  • 2 Christophe // Jul 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    good point about Mazalin. Craotia definitely played as a team but they lacked probably one quality rotation to make it for the Gold Medal. Surprised Dorian Jelenek was not playing more. Liked him before

  • 3 Boris // Jul 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Jelenek has some nice potetial, but realy strugling from perimeter. To slow to create 1 on 1 so he realy must impruve his ability to go for strigh lane drives and improve his shoot. He played more in previus games when Mazalin got injured. But I think it speeks also about depth on SF position. Coric is also corect role player prospect. Most athletic player in rooster. I can’t blame Nazor trusting him more over Jelenek. But also like Jelenek must impruve his shoot and work on skills if he wannts to have future in proo basketball

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