2015 U16 European Championship, five nations through

2015 U16 European ChampionshipDay 2 of the 2015 U16 European Championship saw five teams progress to the next round with victories in Kaunas, Lithuania. Reigning champions France sneaked past Montenegro to ensure its place in the second round, while Bosnia and Herzegovina looked formidable against Italy to punch its ticket. Competition hosts Lithuania look comfortable on their own hardwood and progressed with a victory over Greece, while in Group A Turkey and Germany are both through and will now fight for first place on Day 3.

Group A

Russia vs. Germany, 0-20
The ban on Russian Federation national teams of all age levels from FIBA competition means the nation is not in Kaunas for the 2015 U16 European Championship. Germany had a 0-20 walkover as a result.

England vs. Turkey, 77-91
After also getting a Russia walkover in the Game 1, Turkey opened its tournament with a crushing win over a spirited England. The win means Turkey makes it to the next round and will fight with Germany in Game 3 to decide first place in Group A. England however will slip out of contention for the trophy. During the game Turkey were never less than a decent distance in front and cruised despite England never really collapsing and letting the game go. The winners only drained 3 from 11 attempted triples though and will have to improve from the field overall against testier opposition.

Group B

Lithuania vs. Greece, 69-51
Tournament hosts Lithuania moved into the next round with a win over Greece in Kaunas on Friday. The game was largely decided by an excellent second quarter from Lithuania as they held Greece to just 2 points in the period for a 21-2 run. However, the home team also one the first and third stanzas to ensure a relatively comfortable win against a Greek contingent that does survive to fight another day for qualification. Greece will have to clean up though with 28 personal fouls tonight resulting in 31 free points for the winners.

Israel vs. Spain, 77-84
Spain opened its account with a victory over Israel in Group B, and now the losing team needs to beat Lithuania in Game 3 and have things go their way elsewhere to stand any chance of progressing. Israel actually had the scoreboard with just 2:48 remaining on the game clock, but Miguel Gonzalez and Raimon Carrasco Sagrista drained from beyond the arc to give Spain the win. Spain will be looking for more from its bench moving forward, with just 6 points contributed from supplements in this game, although Israel’s 12 points from the bench was nothing special either.

Group C

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Italy, 77-65
Bosnia and Herzegovina eased into the next round and looked slick once again with a win over Italy. Through the second half in Game 1 and the first half in this contest, the Bosnians have shown they can string devastating passages together and will be a tough proposition in the later rounds. Here blazing 50-19 blitz through the opening 20 minutes put the eventual winners firmly on course, but a sloppy fourth quarter which Italy won 11-25 at least gave the Azzurri a bit of hope, something Bosnia and Herzegovina will want to tidy up in later games.

Finland vs. Serbia, 70-65
Finland put a foot in the next round with a moral boosting win over Serbia, who now needs a win over Italy next to stand any chance of qualifying. The game was close, with Finland winning by a narrow 49-45 margin through thirty minutes. Serbia cut into the lead further and were two points shy with just five seconds left. The next possession was crucial and the Serbians yielded it to Finland on the charity strip to make the contest beyond doubt.

Group D

Croatia vs. Latvia, 77-64
Latvia finished runner up of the 2014 U16 tournament, but with a new group of players it does not look like that success can be repeated this year. Croatia picked up its first win, using a brutal 22-8 run in the first quarter to take charge early on and even dealing with a small Latvian rally in the third. It is telling that the winners scored from the first play and never relinquished the lead after that. Latvia will now face France (who won last year’s gold medal game) next in an attempt to remain in the running for the 2015 gold.

Montenegro vs. France, 62-64
Speaking of France, the reigning champs stayed 100% and guaranteed a berth in the next round, but it was an edge win over Montenegro that got the job done. Montenegro was leading 52-45 at the last split, leaving France with plenty to do. However, Les bleus found plenty of spirit for a 7-0 run that got them back into the game before Jaylen Hoard scored a game winning tip in to settle the battle.

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