Latvia Claim Gold In Turkey U16 Tourney

10 February 2014

12. Arturs Strautins (Latvia)
Arturs Strautins was Latvia's go-to-guy in their unbeaten run to the title

Latvia enjoyed a 73-46 rout of France at the weekend in the final of the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) U16 international tournament and won the title of the prestigious annual event.

In an early declaration of intentions, the Baltic nation's team jumped to a 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter but France managed to reduce the gap to 29-22 by the half-time interval.

Latvia however returned from the locker rooms determined to put the game beyond the reach of their opponents and outscored the French 28-10 in a dominant third-quarter showing which enabled them to go into the final frame with an unassailable 25-point cushion.

Winger Arturs Strautins, with 29 points, seven rebounds and three assists paved the way for the winners and got plenty of support from Rodions Kurucs, who contributed 22 points.

Timothe Vergiat, who collected 12 points and six rebounds, was the only French player to score in double digits.

The win in the final culminated Latvia's six-game unbeaten run in this tournament, as the champions had topped their First Round group thanks to wins over Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and then eliminated Slovenia in the quarter-finals.

In order to reach the gold medal game, Latvia prevailed 87-79 over Argentina in the semi-final on the back of a stratospheric display by Strautins who finished with 34 points and 11 boards and another double-double performance by center Karlis Garoza, who picked up 21 points and 12 rebounds.

In the other semi-final, France had edged out Germany 68-62 behind 16 points from Quentin Goulmy and 12 from Vergiat, while Lars Lagerpusch had a game-high 17 points for Germany in defeat.

The Germans breezed past Argentina 91-61 on Saturday and won the bronze medal in the tournament while Slovenia defeated Montenegro 72-59 in the game for fifth place and Turkey finished in seventh spot, following a 79-56 success over Poland.

Serbia, who were runners up in the 2013 edition, came in ninth just ahead of Ukraine.

Latvia's gold medal success is the second in a row by a European team at the TBF U16 Tournament.

Greece had also gone on a six-game winning streak to step on the top of the podium last year, changing the trend after a two-year period when the event was dominated by the U16 national teams of China and Egypt.


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