FIBA’s U18 European Championship Men and U19 World Championship for Women wrapped this weekend, with Serbia topping France in the former, 78-72, and Spain succumbing to Team USA in the latter.
In Metz, France, Serbia repeated their success of 2007, when their U18s won this tournament. In breaking pattern with the typical games of the tourney to this point, this time it was Serbia jumping out to and maintaining a lead while Team France made the late-game comeback. After leading by 12 late, Serbia held on after Les Bleus cut that lead to one with just over two minutes to play in the game.
Nevertheless, Serbia held on for the win. Best post-game quote goes to Nemanja Jamaraz: “We are the best in Europe, it’s a great feeling.”
In the third-place game, Team Turkey pummeled Lithuania, 95-74 behind another crazy performance from Enes Kanter. Kanter was named tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team by Toni Prostran (Croatia), Evan Fournier (France), Dejan Musli (Serbia), and Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania).
Meanwhile in Thailand, Spain’s U19 Women’s squad could not duplicate their opening-game success against the US. In losing 87-71, the main difference for the Spanish ladies came in the rebounding battle which Team USA utterly controlled, ultimately outboarding Spain 46-33 for the game.
Spain can take some solace in that the team’s achievements did not go unnoticed at awards time. Marta Xargay Casademont was named tournament MVP and Cristina Ouvina was also named to the All-Tournament team. Lithuania’s Marina Solopova was given a spot on this squad as well.
After the classification games, the final standings in the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women ran as follows:
10. Czech Republic
FIBA game wraps follow.
(FIBA Europe) – Serbia held off France 78-72 to be crowned champions of the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.
Serbia last won this tournament two years ago in Madrid, Spain and head coach Vladimir Jovanovic was elated – although at the same time at a loss for words – afterwards.
“This is fantastic, a great win for us, a great performance,” he said with a broad smile on his face.
France head coach Philippe Ory was graceful in defeat. “Serbia played better than us, no doubt about it. We played well in stretches but missed too many shots close to the basket and you can’t expect to win when that happens,” he said.
“But this was a great tournament for us. To play in front of our fans and get to the final, it’s extraordinary. A memorable experience.”
Serbia led by as many as 12, 63-51, when Danilo Andjusic hit consecutive three-pointers early in the final quarter, but France rallied back to get within one, 69-68, on Evan Fournier’s lay-up with 2:12 left to play.
Serbia replied with Andjusic hitting a free throw and Lazar Radosavljevic burying a vital three-pointer from the corner for a 73-68 advantage.
Fournier made a tough lay-up to again cut the deficit to three, 73-70. Jaramaz then missed a jumper and Henri Kahudi found Mael Lebrun on the fastbreak but Lebrun lost control of the ball and Jaramaz got the steal. He was fouled and made one of two free throws with 33 seconds left.
France got within two, 74-72, on Fournier’s pair of foul shots with 25.8 seconds to go, but that would be the closest they would get.
Andjusic was fouled and made good on his two attempts from the charity stripe. Nikola Stojiljkovic launched and missed a questionable three-pointer with about 17 seconds to go and Branislav Djekic sealed the result from the free-throw line.
Andjusic finished with a game-high 22 points – including five three-pointers – and Djekic added 16. Dejan Musli had 14 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
Lebrun had 17 points for France and Fournier added 16.
Serbia scored eight of the first 10 points in third quarter to extend their lead to 48-37, but France used a 7-0 run, started by Mael Lebrun’s three-point play and capped off by Frederic Mondesir’s consecutive lay-ups, to get within four, 48-44.
Musli then made a pair of free-throws and Lebrun threw down a savage dunk on the Serbian big men – much to the crowd’s delight – to make it a four-point game once again, 50-46.
Danilo Andjusic hit a three-pointer at the other end and, when Nikola Stojiljkovic made a free-throw to once again cut the deficit to four, 53-49, Serbia replied from long range courtesy of Djekic.
Geoffrey Renon got a friendly role on his top of the key jumper and Jaramaz hit a free-throw for a 57-51 score to end the third quarter.
Serbia used an 8-0 run to jump in front 10-6 in a low-scoring first quarter. France were within one, 12-11, courtesy of Fabien Paschal’s tip-in off Frederic Bourdillon’s missed lay-up with 1:35 left in the period.
But the hosts had two costly turnovers and trailed by five, 17-12, after Andjusic scored four quick points in the last minute, including a three-point play at the death.
Serbia extended that advantage to seven, 19-12, on Musli’s dunk early in the second quarter. And they were soon up by as many as 11, 26-15, when Musli beat Vincent Pourchot down the court in transition for a dunk with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.
Spurred on by their fans, Les Bleus fight back and seven unanswered points see them close within four, 26-22, on Geoffrey Renon’s basket.
And they would get within three on Renon’s free-throws but Branislav Djekic then scored seven quick points for a 38-30 advantage.
Nicolas Stojiljkovic buried a wing three-pointer buried a three-pointer from the wing to cut it to five, 38-33, and Nemanja Jamaraz and Fournier traded free-throws to end the half.
(FIBA.com) – American offensive panache took over the Sunday’s final day proceedings as twice defending champions retained the gold medal they had won at the last two FIBA U19 World Championships for Women with customary elan.
For US coach Carol Owens, Sunday’s gold medal triumph after her girls beat Spain 87-71 in the final here was the second in a row, having trained the 2007 team at Bratislava.
“It’s a great honour to win the gold for a great basketball country like the USA,” Owens beamed.
The only defeat the Americans had suffered in three Championships was at the hands of Spain on the opening day here. But any hopes Spain might have cherished of repeating that rare feat was quashed early in Sunday’s game.
“I think this team is a lot better today than they were that day,” said Owens.
As has been their wont in the playoff rounds, the US effected one major scoring spree and rallied around that to eke out what had looked like a lopsided win.
“There certainly were moments when we played our best basketball,” said Owens. “Our focus and attention was always there where it had to be. We knew they (Spain) would fight back. I think we did well to hold our composure together.”
Guards Samantha Prahalis and Skylar Diggins – the latter celebrating her 18th birthday – led the American charge yet again, in the first quarter. Prahalis reeled in 11 of her 21 points for the game and Diggins scored six of her 10.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kelsey Bone took charge thereafter the former going on to return an impressive double-double.
Ogwumike scored 22 points and collected 20 of her team’s 46 rebounds. The US outboarded Spain 46-33.
Bone had 18 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Spain, who were on a 8-0 winning spree before this game, including that 90-86 win over the Americans on the opening day, fought back rather gallantly to match their rivals in scoring.
The reigning European U18 Champions even outshot the US in some phases as the game progressed, but that early deficit proved too wide to bridge.
Marta Xargay Casademont, voted Tournament MVP, scored 12 points, but nine of them in the second half.
Vega Gimeno also scored 12, but all of them in the second half.
Only Leonor Rodriguez had an all-round scoring show with 21 points.