|Turkey took their third gold medal overall at U16 European Championships |
Serbia entered the final frame trailing Spain by seven points but came back to prevail 68-67 and seal their pass to the semis in dramatic fashion, after forward Stefan Lazarevic blocked a shot from Spain's Marc Bauza with two seconds on the clock.
Vukan Stojanovic led all Serbia scorers with 17 points while Lazarevic had nine points, 10 rebounds and three more blocks in addition to the one in the game-winning play.
Les Bleus regrouped in the second period and took the lead with a big third quarter, in which they gave up only nine points.
France held on in the final stanza to edge out the Croatians 67-64 behind an exemplary team effort, as 10 French players wrote their name on the scoresheet, without any of them reaching double digits.
Turkey were, relatively, the most comfortable winners in the quarter-finals.
Turkey's center Egemen Güven went 8-for-11 from the floor to collect 19 points and added nine rebounds and an eye-popping five blocks.
In the first semi-final, France decided they would not commit the same mistake again and started strong to take a 21-16 lead over Italy.
The Italians were not going to have their perfect record snapped so easily and turned the tables around to head into the final quarter with a two-point advantage.
Wallez made eight of his 12 shots from the floor and finished with 20 points, adding eight rebounds and two assists.
In the second semi-final, Turkey had to work very hard to bend the resistance of Serbia and overcome a deficit that had reached as much as 10 points.
But when they finally managed to take control of the game in the third quarter, they kept fighting tooth and nail to hold on to it.
The forward finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while shooting guard Ogulcan Baykan led all scorers with 18.
|Okben Ulubay earned MVP honours at the DADU U16 European Championship|
In the third-place game, Italy did not manage to recover from their semi-final loss and succumbed to a second defeat in the tournament at the hands of a determined to earn bronze Serbia.
The Balkan side dominated proceedings with a firm grip and claimed an 83-69 triumph to step on the podium.
Ilija Dokovic steered Serbia to victory with an all-round performance; the point guard recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds and added five assists.
In the final, Turkey thought it best to play it safe and followed the successful recipe of their semi-final.
Turkey did enough to maintain a lead, however slim, over France throughout the first half and then tightened the screws on defence in the third quarter to take a comfortable 10-point cushion in the final frame.
They then immediately increased the gap to 15 points and although the French fought hard in the last eight minutes to come back, and even approached within one point, their opponents remained always in control.
Turkey won 66-61 to conquer gold and celebrate their first title at this level since 2005.
Mehmet Alemdaroglu saved his best for last, collecting a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the winners in the final.
Okben Ulubay of Turkey was voted the MVP of the tournament, with Croatian center Marko Arapovic, Italian playmaker Federico Mussini, German swingman Jan Wimberg and French guard Etienne Ory joining him on the All Tournament Team.
The trio earned promotion at the U16 European Championship Division B in Bucharest.
Belgium and Montenegro had already punched their ticket to Division A by winning their respective semi-final battles but it's the Belgians who will go there as champions, since they capped off a terrific campaign with a 56-46 win over the Montenegrins in the gold medal game.
Swedish point guard Ludvig Hakanson earned tournament MVP honours as he was among the top ten players in 14 different statistical categories
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