U16 European Championships day 1

U16 European ChampionshipsThe U16 European Championships are underway in Latvia and there was plenty of action across the groups on day 1, with reigning champs Spain getting their title defence off to a good start.

Group A
Serbia emerged victorious with a relatively comfortable 79-55 win over Finland in Ogre. The teams were tied at 8-8 after a low scoring first quarter, but Serbia found a scoring rhythm in the second frame and scored 29 points while Finland managed 18. After a halftime score of 37-26 the Serbs went through the gears to win Q3 31-14 and then cruise through the fourth stanza to take the game. Borisa Simanic led the Serbian team to victory with 15 points.

It was a good start to the U16 European Championships for Turkey as the team edged Lithuania to win 76-68 in Game 1. Turkey looked impressive through the first 10 minutes and led 27-23 at the first break, but lost the second quarter 15-17 to put the score on 42-40 at halftime. Lithuania continued its ascension in the game and took the third quarter 13-18 to lead 55-58 with ten minutes left. Turkey responded with a 21-10 winning frame in the fourth to secure the win. Tadas Sedekerskis paced the winning effort with a huge 35 points, while also claiming 8 rebounds in the game.

Group B
Tournament hosts Latvia pleased their home fans in Ogre with a 67-74 win over Greece. Latvia scraped a lead in a tight opening stanza, sneaking to a 14-16 lead at the first stop, but a 21-19 Q2 from the Greeks tied the game at 35 apiece at the long break. The hosts outlasted Greece during the third quarter, winning the frame 19-23 and then extending through the fourth quarter to secure a confidence boosting opening win.

Bosnia & Herzegovina scraped to victory over Croatia, taking the game by one point with the final score at 64-65. Croatia had looked down and out in the first half, but a 14-0 run in the third frame opened the game up and the fourth quarter was a basket trading exercise in tension. Eventually Amar Gegic produced a game winning lay-up to hand the spoils to Bosnia & Herzegovina in the most dramatic of fashions. Dzanan Musa had a great game in victory, scoring 18 points while also taking 7 boards and 5 dimes.

Group C
Germany looked good in the opening Group C encounter as they saw off Poland 72-60 in Grobina. The Germans looked strong from the first tip off, pacing to a confident 23-15 lead after 10 minutes on the court. The team maintained that eight point advantage at the midway point, with the halftime scoreboard reading 39-31. Poland won its first and only frame of the game, taking the third quarter 12-14, but Germany replied in the fourth to cruise down the straight.

It was a winning start to the U16 European Championships for France, and it come in the most convincing of manners as they crushed Denmark 87-33. On this evidence the Danish are in danger and never looked like troubling a slick France outfit. The winners won each quarter (27-11, 17-11, 28-3, 15-8) and looked good in defence, but it could be argued that the Danes France look good. Bathiste Tchouaffe had a double-double in the winning effort, securing 16 points and 10 rebounds in the game.

Group D
Defending champions Spain got this year’s tournament off to a good start by shutting out Ukraine 81-46 in what was a bit of a demolishing job. The Spanish paced to a comfortable 21-12 after 10 minutes, but Ukraine stopped the deficit widening with a 16-16 second quarter. In the third Spain shut up around the perimeter and stopped the Ukraine players at 9 points while pouring in 21 during the period. The fourth quarter was a formality as the Spanish eased to victory. Maxim Esteban was the top scorer in the game, securing 14 points for a victorious Spain.

Italy looked good in defeating Russia 66-41 in Grobina in Game 1. The Italians won a low scoring first quarter by hitting 10 points and holding Russia to just 4 points. In the second frame Russia hit back to win the stanza 10-15, making it a one point game (20-19) at halftime. Italy exploded in the third and once again looked good in defence, holding the Russians to 9 points while streaming in 27 of their own. That blistering third frame made the final period an easy stroll for Italy.

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