FIBA U-17 World championship in Kaunas has just started
In the first game of the day Africans faced Asians – Egypt took a 12 points loss against China in the group A. The deficit of Egypthas been even bigger, but Egyptians won 4th quarter 23:16 and started the tournament with a loss – 68:80.
For the winners, China, Jiwei Zhao scored impressive 25 points with 5 of 8 shots from beyond the arc. Yifeng Heng added 16 while Qi Zhou put 9 points, got 14 rebounds and blocked 5 shots.
Egyptian’s top scorer was Moataz Hosny – big man had 20 points and 4 rebounds. Ehab Amin added 16 plus 6.
In another game Spain played against Korea and won the game with a result 80:62.Korea, which was the most unknown team in the tournament, started off strong, but Spaniards took over the game and finished with safe 28 points lead.
The most impressive player among the winners was Senegal-born Ilimane Diop, who played only 18 minutes, but scored 17 points and got 13 rebounds. Marcos Portalez had 12 points plus 6 rebounds.
In the Korean side top scorers were Hoon Heo – 19, Nakhyeon Kim – 14, Yun Kim – 12.
The third game was between Czech Republic and France. The vice-champions of European U-16 championship in 2011 step by step collected 14 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, what helped them to win this game.
Although in the 4th quarter few timesFrance managed to come back and tie the game. However, led by Adam Pechacek (24 points, 4 rebounds) and Radovan Kouril (12 points, 6 rebounds, 15 assists, 7 turnovers) CzechRepublic won the game.
France had two players who scored in double digits – Olivier Yao-Delon with 16 points plus 6 rebounds and Paul Rigot with 11 points.
The USA team, featuring such players like Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and others, as well started their journey in the tournament. In game, which was competitive only two quarters, the USA beat Australia.
Thanks to great 3rd quarter (36:14) team USA got that big lead, while after the 1st half they were only 6 points overAustralia.
Five Americans scored in double digits as Stephen Domingo had 17 plus 5, Jahlil Okafor – 16 plus 5, Conner Frankamp – 13 plus 5 assists, Jabari Parker – 11 plus 8 rebounds, Joel Barry – 10. In Australian side Dante Exum had 17 points and 9 were added by Nicholas Duncan.
The game which over here was the most awaited was a match-up of hosts Lithuania and Canada.
After tough and intense fight the hosts were beaten after the overtime – 69:63. Lithuanians had serious scoring problems in the end of the 4th quarter and the overtime – from about last two minutes of the 4th quarter they weren’t able to score till first basket was made since then with less than half of minute to go in the overtime.
Canadians played all their 12 players. The top scorers in their squad were Marial Shayok and Kevin Zabo who had 16 points each. 9 plus 5 was added by Tyrell Bellot-Green.
Zydrunas Jurgutis (4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocked shots, 3 turnovers), Edvinas Seskus (14 rebounds, 6 turnovers) and Lukas Grabauskas (8 rebounds, 5 turnovers) scored 13 points each for the hosts.
After tough game Canada’s M.Shayok commented the game in short: “Before the game we said that we should stay together so we stayed together.”
The head coach of Canada David Deaveiro was happy with the final result: “I thoughtLithuaniawas very prepared, they changed their defense to zone.
We took care of the ball, had 8 turnovers in 2nd half. I believe we are deep team, we can play many people. When we play so many games, so many days, we need deep bench so we play all our players in every game.”
Lithuania’s player E. Seskus said that in the end rebounding was the problem. Also he hopes that things will get better. While coach Paulius Juodis said that Canada played up-tempo basketball and besides that the young Lithuanians were nervous: “In the first part of the game we were very thrilled, especially in the 1st quarter.
Young players didn’t deal with all that excitement, everyone was very nervous. They played all their 12 players, we knew that they are going to play on high tempo, get rebounds.
Three fourths of the game we were kind of doing normal, but we relaxed just for only one moment and they took 18 rebounds under our board and we weren’t able to stop their fast breaks.”
The last match-up of the day was between Argentina and Croatia. The clear favorites of this game Croatians got not difficult win – 78:68.
Since before the 4th quarter they were ahead by 20 points, they were safe to finish game relaxed. Last year’s MVP of European U-16 championship Mario Hezonja was the best player on the court, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Paolo Marinelli had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 6 turnovers, Karlo Zganec – 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 turnovers. For Argentina side Gabriel Deck and Alvaro Merlo had 17 plus 5 each while both of Luka Vildoza and Rodrigo Haag scored 11 points.