Captain Allison Vernerey and MVP Diandra Tchatchouang both collected double-doubles as France got the revenge they were looking for by beating Spain 63-60 to capture their second Termosteps U16 European Championship Women title.
The French title - which will be added to the 2001 crown - ends Spain's three-year reign as U16 champions - among them a victory over France in the 2005 final in Poland.
"I don't realise that I am European champion now," said France coach Gregory Halin.
"These girls were amazing. It was a very hard game and they were really tired. But they were mentally strong and that made the difference. We worked so hard for this. And they resisted the pressure and deserve this."
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|Leonor Rodriguez led all scorers in the final but her efforts were not enough for Spain|
Halin said winning this title by beating Spain was all the more sweeter since he coached the 2005 French squad.
"I'm very, very happy because we beat Spain. In the European Championship it's always been the opposite. But we beat Spain and we are European champions now."
Captain Vernerey, who scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, added: "It's unbelievable. I'm not really sure how to realise this. We're just so happy. I think it's great to beat Spain here because we stopped their run and now it's our turn. it was our day, our game and our victory."
The MVP Tchatchouang added 17 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks.
France came in with the game plan of feeding the ball to the low post but struggled with turnovers early, and Leonor Rodriguez and Elisabet Vivas Sacramento buried back-to-back three-pointers to allow Spain to open a 20-10 advantage. The French pulled to within 24-16 after the first period.
The French interior game got rolling to start the second quarter and Halin's team went on a 10-0 run to pull ahead 26-24. France were ahead 30-28 at half-time, but could have led by much more as they out-rebounded the Iberians 27-13, including 14 offensive rebounds.
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|Allison Vernerey's superb performance helped France to the title|
Helna Yasmina Akmouche's lay-up gave France a 35-28 advantage early in the third, but Rodriguez made two free throws and Claudia Calvelo scored inside as Spain took full advantage of an unsportsmanlike foul call to even things at 35-35.
And Cristina Pedrals Barrios's steal and break-away lay-up pushed Spain back ahead 37-35.
Isabelle Strunc and Rodriguez exchanged three-pointers on the way to a 44-42 Spain lead going into the fourth.
In the final period, Spain continued to struggle securing their defensive glass as Vernerey and Tchatchouang repeatedly kept possessions alive with offensive rebounds.
And with France ahead 55-52, Vernerey rebounded Tchatchouang's three-pointer and Linda Bousbaa drained a three-pointer to give France a 58-52 advantage with 53 seconds to play.
Strunc and Vernerey both made just one of two foul shots and Vega Gimeno Martinez's three-pointer cut the deficit to 60-57.
Tchatchouang turned over the ball with 6.5 seconds left to give Spain one last chance, but Barrios's three-point attempt at the buzzer came up short.
Rodriguez led all scorers with 25 points and also had nine rebounds, five assists and five steals. Martinez and Calvelo both were Spain's next-best scorers with eight points.
France turned the ball over 18 times but used a 54-26 rebounding advantage to overcome those mistakes.