Spain take U16 Youth International Basketball title in Naples
Spain have defended their youth international basketball U16 European Championship title by defeating Belgium (57-53) in overtime. This is their 5th title in six years.
France picked up another medal this summer after beating Russia (75-46) in the bronze medal game.
An 11-0 run early in the first period put France in control for the rest of the game. Margaux Galliou led the French attack with 17 points while Esther Niamke and Claire Stievenard added 16 points each.
The Naples U16 youth international basketball festival ended in disappointment for the hosts, Italy, as they were beaten (50-71) in the match for fifth place against Turkey.
In the matches for minor places Greece finished 7th after beating the Czech Republic (59-54).
Finland ended the tournament on a high to finish 9th after beating Poland (76-63). Serbia had to settle for 11th place after winning against Lithuania (50-47).
Emma Meesseman is MVP
The choice for most valuable player (MVP) at youth international basketball events in Europe is made by the participating coaches.
Emma Meesseman (right) from Belgium won the award. She averaged 14.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She achieved 7 double-doubles and led the block shots category with 3.4 per game.
However this is just statistics because she is also a great team player. She works hard to bring other players into the game. Meesseman did her work inside but did not forget about feeding the ball out for outside players.
The other members of the all-tournament team are: Olcay Cakir (Turkey), Julie Vanloo (Belgium), Andrea Vilaró and Ksenia Tikhonenko (Russia).
The fair play prize was awarded to Ann Schyvens from Belgium.
The free-throwing which has been generally poor for France in this tournament was excellent at the start of the match. It proved to be the key element during the first period as France went on a 11-O run that set up the final victory.
For France Margaux Galliou (right in white) was the leading scorer with 17 points and second in rebounding with 10 rebounds.
Esther Niamke had a good game with 16 points, including 4 assists and 4 steals.
Claire Stievenard also scored 16 points for France while Jodie Cornelie finished up with 12 rebounds but just 1 point.
For Russia Ksenia Tikhonenko was the main player with 16 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.
France completely dominated the first period to lead (25-13) going into the second quarter.
Niamke (left) and Galliou did most of the scoring for France as they combined for 18 points and shot 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
France took control of the game with an 11-0 burst that opened up a lead of 12 points (17-5) with four minutes played in the first period.
Darya Namok from Russia came up with some individual exploits that included a trey as Russia finished the first quarter stronger.
The second period was an even affair with both sides having their moments as they traded basket for basket for ten minutes.
However Russia were not able to bring down the deficit and France led (44-29) at the half-time break.
Russia went to sleep in the third period and allowed France a free run at the start with Niamke and Stievenard doing all the scoring. France stretched their lead (51-32) with just over three minutes played.
The pace slowed down and France started to lose focus as they missed a lot of shots. It also appeared that Russia had already abdicated. So France went into the final period leading (58-36).
Both teams just played out the final quarter. All the same Ksenia Tikhonenko (right) from Russia was still motivated and was all over the court. But this was not enough to stop France.
Stievenard and Laure Mercier added a couple of three-pointers before the youngest member of the French team Olivia Epoupa brought the game to an end with a steal and lay-up.
France's victory (75-46) meant that they had won the bronze medal for the second year in a row.