Two wins and a narrow loss against France. That is the balance of Javi Zamora’s U18 Men’s Team in the Bellegarde Tournament, the first set-up on the field on the way to the European Championship.
After the first preparation phase in La Rioja, Javi Zamora’s U18 Men headed for France to play an international tournament of enormous level. Four countries that will be in the podium pools in the European Championship and that have given Spain the chance to play three games played. Two of them fell on the Spanish side and the last one meant the first defeat of the preparation.
On Thursday the rival was Israel, a country that has had excellent results in this category in recent years. The most offensive match of the tournament and in which Álvaro Folgueiras (20 points), Bruno Vidarte (13) and Lucas Mari (11) stood out. Spain came to have advantages of more than 15 points, but ended up winning in the last possessions (87-85).
On Friday it was the turn of Croatia, another of the teams that will fight for medals in the European Championship in Serbia. Spain took the victory, but the clash was tremendously even with advantages that did not exceed 7 points. Javi Zamora’s men were very serious in defense and with the feeling of having the match under control. Lucas Mari (17 points) and Conrad Martínez (15) were the most successful in front of the hoop.
On Saturday came the highlight of the tournament. A Spain-France that has become a classic of youth basketball. A match in which the Frenchmen came out with more intensity, supported by their fans, and who achieved an advantage of up to 13 points (26-13) at the start of the second quarter. Spain was coming into play with Conrad Martínez and Hugo González as references and they came to take the lead (55-56) midway through the last quarter. In the end, victory for France (66-65) with Hugo González (20 points), Conrad Martínez (17) and Bruno Vidarte (13) as their best scorers.
Spain – Israel 87-85
Spain – Croatia 68-62
France – Spain 66-65
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