|The U18 All Stars|
There was no case of the blues for the Blue Team in the U18 All Star Game in Ljubljana on Saturday as they defeated their White opponents 74-69 thanks to 13 points from Damian Jeszke and 12 points from Nikola Jokic.
The Blue team has now won the game on each of the three occasions that it has taken place.
"This was a great experience for everyone involved. It was a great way to finish the summer for us," said Blue playmaker Kenan Sipahi, who earlier this year won the gold medal at the U18 European Championship with Turkey and collected four points, four rebounds and six assists in the All Star Game.
"We didn't win but it was still an honour to play in this game. We got a chance to show ourselves against other top players," said Spain's Alberto Abalde from Team White.
White were ahead 11-10 thanks to triples from Auguti Sans, Birsen and Zagorac. Milovan Draskovic came in for Blue and scored seven straight points to spark a 13-2 run for a 23-13 lead. White closed to within 23-20 after one quarter.
The Blue cushion was 26-24 when Dogukan Sanli's triple started a 9-0 spurt for Blue in opening the biggest lead of the game at 35-24. Blue went cold for the final three minutes as White got out on the break with Birsen twice scoring fast break baskets and Zagorac also had four points as Blue's lead shrank to 35-34 after two quarters.
The Whites continued their strong play early in the third quarter and went up 52-47 on a triple by Alexander Martynov.
But Jeszke scored six points in an 8-2 run as the Blues led 55-54 after three quarters.
The lead changed five times in the early stages of the fourth until Jokic tallied two baskets in opening a 66-61 margin.
Pasecniks' smile remained following the game, with the Latvian big man also named as the game's MVP.