Turkey Battle Their Way To Bronze


The bronze medal of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Men has a home after Turkey beat France 77-65 to finish the games with a happy face.

Turkey came very-very close to the finals, but eventually found the way to get on the podium thanks to a big performance in the medal game.

Enes Kanter showed once again his power in the paint by registering a 28 points and 20 rebounds double-double with a single block.

Léo Westermann (France)
Léo Westermann led France with 22 points in the loss.
Burak Yuksel in a big game added 20 points and eight rebounds with Safak Edge scoring 14 including, as usual, some big shots down the stretch.

France saw 22 points from Leo Westermann, while Evan Fournier added 12 and Valentin Mauve scored 11.

"After the loss in the semi-finals it was very-very important for us to get a medal," said Mustafa Derin, the bronzed Head Coach.

"We started this path 70 days ago and made a great way as a team," he added before analyzing another aspect that got his team the medal. 

"We are a nation of fighters, and that's what got us the win.

"Even if it's only 16 year old players here, this competition was in very high level and to win a medal here wasn't an easy task."

Turkey used a second quarter run to take an 11 point lead at half time.

By then Kanter already had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Turkish giant rested today only a few seconds, just like last night when the game went to overtime.

Considering he has also played the U18 Championship earlier this summer as the key target player of his team, the pressure on his shoulders was big and his tiredness was visible.

"Kanter gave everything he has today for this win.

"He loves his country and wanted this medal very much," said Derin.

France made it back to the game in the last minutes and had the ball on the fast break down by three carrying big momentum.

Out of nowhere came a big block by Yigit Vardal that moved the momentum to the other side.

"The team who shot better today won the game," commented the French Head Coach Tahar Assed-Liegeon.

He referred to Turkey's advantage in all the shot percentages fields - 55.9% from close range, 32% from distance and great 83.3% from the line.

Yuksel was part of Turkey's early 10-2 run but Mauve and Westermann made things happen for France and after one quarter we had a tied game, 18-18.

Kanter scored four in a row and Yuksel added another big three followed by a three pointer by Edge as Turkey took off.

Right before half time Kanter reached 20 showing he can score from long range as well, as Turkey held a 42-31 difference at the break.

Coach Assed-Liegeon used the 218cm Vincent Pourchot to try and stop the Turksih big and at times it worked well.

Pourchot, who finished with ten points and seven rebounds, denied the ball to the tired Kanter, who hardly made any contribution in the third quarter.

France felt the game was within reach, but couldn't find the way to make it work as they entered their last quarter of the competition down 54-46.

Kanter started the last quarter with a big dunk to make it a ten point game, but that woke up Fournier.

The French guard, together with big plays by Westermann and Mauve cut the lead in half, and later on to just two as the clock ticked down.

Edge, of course, hit from long range but Mauve copied on the other side to keep it a three point game, before Fournier stole the ball near half court with 90 seconds on the clock.

On the way to an easy lay up, and add yet another momentum to the French run he met Vardal's hand and the block was quickly converted to a three point play by Yuksel on the other end with 76 seconds to play.

France never recovered from there watching Edge and Kanter add six perfect hits from the line in the closing seconds to lock the bronze medal in the Turkish cabin.


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