|FECC mentor Svetislav Pesic presents Dunk Contest winner Sergey Karasev with the trophy|
Almost 12,000 excited fans streamed into the Kauno Arena to watch the U18 All Star Game on the penultimate day of EuroBasket.
They were entertained by a dramatic contest as Team Blue won a real thriller against Team White 81-80 and also treated to a half-time dunk contest won by Sergey Karasev of Russia.
The event brought together the cream of young talent from right across Europe with both teams drawn from the summer's top performers at the U18 European Championship and FIBA U19 World Championship.
It was Team Blue who started more strongly with William Magarity of Sweden sinking a three-ball to hand his team a 5-2 lead during the early exchanges. For Team White, it was Rasmus Larsen of Denmark who lit things up with a flying dunk as his team posted an 11-6 run to move in front.
There was then perhaps the biggest cheer of the entire game when home favourite Paulius Semaska was introduced into the action.
Unfortunately for his supporters, he could do little to prevent Team White streaking into a commanding 31-22 first quarter lead after back to back scores from downtown by Italian Matteo Imbro.
It wasn't long before Tobias Borg of Sweden handed Team White a double-digit lead for white with a really nice move and finish at the hoop before Team Blue finally came alive once again midway through the period.
A nice baby hook shot from Polish center Przemyslaw Karnowski helped to bring them back into contention although they still trailed 50-42 at the interval. Much of the best work by Team White was down to the flawless first-half shooting lines of Croatian Dario Saric and German Bogdan Radosaviljevic.
Team Blue coach Mathias Eckhoff needed his team to respond during the third quarter and they did. A big dunk in transition by Aleksandr Gudumak had the fans on their feet in appreciation and when Danish guard Esben Reinholt made a triple, it was a one-shot game.
Moments later, Finnish forward Joonas Caven made a strong move to the hoop to level the scores before a Karnowski jump-shot on the buzzer completed the fight-back to give Team Blue a 65-63 lead heading into the last ten minutes.
With the result hanging in the balance, French guard Hugo Invernizzi stepped up for Team White and having missed his first three shots from outside, made two from long-range to help his team move 73-68 in front.
But, it was to be Team Blue who would show the resolve and composure needed to win the game down the stretch.
While Spaniard Alejandro Suarez made a big three from the corner to make it 80-79, a cool running jumper by Serbian Aleksandar Cvetkovic proved to be the game winning bucket as Team White failed to execute with the last possession.
Big Man Przemyslaw Karnowski was voted MVP of the U18 All Star Game and received his award by FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson at halftime of the Greece vs. Lithuania game for fifth place on Saturday night.
The rosters of the two teams: