By Jared Grellet
|Turkey showed great skilss and heart on their way to the title in Vlinus and were frenetically celebrating their victory|
Turning Point: After fighting back from 15 points down early in the final quarter, France was restricted to two points in the final three minutes, allowing Turkey to cling on for the win.
Game Hero: Ediz Oktay remained calm at the end, scoring four points in the final moments to halt a French comeback.
Stats Don't Lie: Turkey picked 22 second-chance points compared to France's four.
Turkey have claimed their first gold medal at the Dadu U16 European Championship in seven years, remaining composed to defeat France 66-61.
Despite leading for the entire game, Turkey's win was never guaranteed against a stubborn French team who refused to go away. The game looked in the bag for Turkey early in the final quarter when their lead hit 15, but France refused to give up, fighting back to be within a point heading down the stretch.
Turkey last won the Championship in 2005, defeating France on that occasion as well, which also happened to be France's last visit to the tournament grand finale.
Turkey's first significant break came in the lead-up to half-time when their lead broke out to seven points, but when Lucas Dussoulier sunk a three on the buzzer, the gap was back down to four.
Turkey upped their defensive effort after the half, restricting France to just two points from the field in the third quarter, allowing them to build a healthy 10-point lead going into the deciding frame.
Ediz Oktay was then coming up with the big plays at the start of the final quarter, providing an assist on an Oguzhan Cakmak lay-up before following it up with a three to have Turkey up by 15, their biggest lead of the game.
But the French refused to lie down, as Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot took his team on a 16-2 run to make it a one-point ball game going into the final three minutes.
But having done the hard work, France could not land the knock-out punch, missing seven of their next eight shots as Oktay took over for Turkey, picking up four late points to ignite the celebrations on the Turkish bench.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," MVP Okben Ulubay told FIBAEurope.com soon after his team's historic win, adding, "We never gave up and now we are the champions. It is impossible to compare this to anything else I have achieved in my life."
Oktay ended with 10 points, seven of which came in the final quarter. Mehmet Alemdaroglu recorded an 14-point 11-rebound double-double whilst Egemen Guven chipped in with 12 points.
Lucas Dussoulier and Eliezer-Vanerot both scored 11 points for France.