|Tilbe Senyürek was a strong presence for Turkey on Thursday evening|
A strong finish by Turkey enabled them to get off to a winning start at the U18 European Championship Women in Vinkovci as they finally shrugged off a dogged Czech Republic 71-60 in an exciting match-up.
Whilst Turkey had generally held the upper hand for the most part having taken control 32-24 at the midway point of the game, the wheels threatened to come crashing off when they re-emerged for the third quarter.
Leaving their defence in the locker room, Turkey were left stunned as Czech Republic found some much needed offensive rhythm.
With Turkey still sitting pretty at 45-36 after a triple by top scorer Fahriye Bayraktar who corralled 16 points, Czech Republic found a big spark.
They scored 11 of the next 13 points to pull level, before a free-throw by the influential Kamila Hoskova handed them the lead and set up a dramatic finale heading into the last 10 minutes.
With the game hanging in the balance at 58-55 to Turkey with five minutes left, the eventually victorious side re-discovered their defence and a 13-5 end to the game got the job done.
Hoskova grabbed 18 points and six rebounds for the Czechs, whilst nice cameos by Tilbe Senyurek and Ezgi Manlaci were critically important for Turkey.