|06 February 2013|
|Vasileios Charalampopoulos continues to impress for Greece|
Serbia and Greece were the only two sides to finish the group stage and enter the quarter-finals of the Turkish Federation (TBF) International U16 Tournament undefeated, in Sakarya on Tuesday.
The two Balkan under-16 teams topped Groups A and B, respectively, and lead an all-European pack of quarter-finalists as neither China nor Argentina managed to qualify to the last eight of the tournament.
Sweden and Montenegro are the two European sides that did not advance, as they finished bottom of their respective groups.
In the quarter-finals, that take place on Thursday, Serbia will take on Slovenia, who finished fourth in Group B, while the Greeks will face the hosts, Turkey.
France meanwhile, who took second place in Group A will face off with Ukraine while Germany, who finished below the Greeks in Group B will go head to head to Latvia.
The top spot in Group B was only decided on Tuesday night, since both Greece and Germany arrived on the final day of the group stage unbeaten.
The Greeks never allowed the clash for first turn into a real contest, as they dominated the Germans with an iron fist right from tip-off, giving up just 21 points to their opponents in the entire first half.
The Hellenic team clinched a much more comfortable than initially expected 75-45 victory behind a well-balanced effort at both ends of the floor, led by forwards Dionysis Skoulidas and Vasilis Charalampopoulos, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds each.
Serbia also maintained their perfect record with ease, as they topped hosts Turkey 66-45 in the final game of Group A action.
Milos Glisic led all scorers with 14 points while winger Stefan Nikolic had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
France cruised to a 73-57 win over Sweden, behind another double-double performance by Stephane Gombauld, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Point guard Renathan Ona Embo contributed 16 points, five rebounds and three assists for Les Bleus.
Latvia meanwhile secured their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a 71-67 win over China.
The Baltic side started timidly against the Asian giant but shut them down during the second and third quarters, to take a 13-point advantage going into the final frame.
China came back and outscored the Europeans 23-14 but it was not enough to turn the tables around.
The backcourt duo of Renars Birkans, who finished with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Arturs Strautins, who had 19 points and six rebounds, was instrumental in the Latvian triumph.
In Group B, Ukraine qualified after handing Montenegro their fifth loss in as many games in the tournament, 56-46.
Small forward Svyatoslav Mikhayliuk led all scorers with 15 points while Rostislav Lunskiy made sure the battle of the boards would go to the Ukrainians, as he collected a double-double of 11 points and an eye-catching 16 rebounds.
Slovenia meanwhile lost to Argentina, 62-56, but still managed to advance as fourth in the group.
Blaz Mesicek was the only Slovenian to score in double digits and finished with 12 points.
As if it was not impressive enough that France center Gombald leads the tournament in scoring after the end of the first round, with 22 points per game on average, he is also the top rebounder, with 12.6 boards per night.
Stefan Peno of Serbia meanwhile is so far the best passer, with 4.2 assist per encounter, while Georgios Papagiannis of Greece averages an impressive 3.4 blocks per game and his team-mate Antonis Koniaris leads the tournament in steals, with 3.8 per game.