European Championship U18, day 1 summary

European Championship U18The FIBA European Championship U18 has tipped off in Volos, Greece and it proved to be an exciting day of game one action through groups A to D. There were a few standout contests along the way, such as Spain clashing with France, while Turkey narrowly picked up a win to begin its quest for a three peat of titles.

The Turks are reigning champions after winning the European Championship U18 in 2013 and 2014, but will contend with a number of the traditional favourites. Those nations include Serbia, Croatia, Lithuania, and tournament hosts Greece, although some of those teams are off to shaky starts.

Group A
The big clash of Day 1 saw Spain meet France in the opening game of the European Championship U18, with the French emerging with a 58-64 win. The game was tight through three quarters with France leading 46-48, but Les Bleus moved through the gears in the fourth, holding Spain to 12 points and claiming victory. The Czech Republic also opened its account with a 68-65 win over Ukraine, but the winners nearly threw the game away. The Czech’s led by ten points through thirty minutes but managed to let Ukraine back into the game during a tense 4th act, before managing to fall over the line. Ondrej Fleischhans grabbed the winning points from the charity strip on his way to 15 points for the winning effort.

Group B
Easily the biggest shock of the opening day in Volos saw the unfancied German team down Serbia, typically among the favourites for the tournament. Does that make Germany a dark horse? Possibly, but expect Serbia to pick it up in the coming games. The 56-65 win really never looked in doubt as Germany opened a lead early on and rarely looked back, with Serbia getting to five points the best they could do. The Germans will now fancy their chances of making the next round as they face a Montenegrin team that dropped its first game next. Latvia inflicted a 61-70 win over Montenegro in Group B, although the teams traded buckets and the lead for much of the game (17 lead changes and 13 ties). In the fourth Latvia found the extra legs and powered to victory, Verners Kohs’ leading 18 points came on the back of 5 of 9 shooting from downtown.

Group C
Reigning champs Turkey was given a stern test on Day 1 as Italy made the consecutive winners sweat on the win, with victory coming by a single point (48-49). Italy tackled Turkey at the perimeter consistently while staying tough at the back, and with just 35 seconds on the clock the Azzurri led 48-46. However, Turkey (led by Furkan Korkmaz with 19 points) drained three points in the closing seconds to shut the game in their favour. Russia put Finland to the sword in a 62-89 win that was probably the most comfortable of the day in Greece. The Russians were hot in the first half and blitzed Finland with consistent baskets, nailing 50 points for a 50-29 lead through the long break. The scoring paced eased in the second half, but Russia was much too strong and cruised to victory. Timofey Yakushin hit five from beyond the arc and netted 22 points overall to pace the victory.

Group D
A repeat of 2014’s bronze medal game saw Greece exact revenge on Croatia with a win. The hosts were much too strong here and picked up a 64-41 victory which shows how far Croatia has to come to challenge this year. The Greek contingent was strong in the paint, collecting 42 points there while holding Croatia to just 18 points at the other end. While Lithuania’s 50-73 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina became comfortable late on, the team was made to work hard to get there. After 22 minutes Lithuania had a 41-35 lead, but the Bosnian effort was still in the game, before Lithuania went on a quality 14-3 run that all but killed the game. The winners were amazing off the glass, grabbing 49 rebounds, while Bosnia and Herzegovina managed 29 boards. The losing team will also be disappointed with its hitting from triple distance, with just 1 out of 16 attempts finding net.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login