Last year’s finalist of the u16 Division B Championship Lithuania and Bulgaria along with bronze medallists Latvia will fight to remain in the top flight of European Basketball this week here in Bulgaria.
Last summer in Tallinn, the B Division Championship game, Hristova scored 42 points but even that wasn’t enough to hold off Lithuania. For the previous 2 summers Hristova has consistently led the way for hosts Bulgaria averaging 25 points a game – how will they fare this year….? Perennial top team Spain are with them in Group A with neighbours Greece and Croatia.
Lithuania had good balanced scoring last summer and return some key players but will of course miss the tournament all star PG Dalia Belickaite who has just finished playing in the u17 World Championships. Group C will be tight, neither Belgium or Netherlands are yet to really show their normal excellent form with average performances by their own standards in the EYOF this summer.
Latvia won the Baltic Sea cup with 3 wins beating Estonia, Finland and Sweden but do they have enough fire power to take get out of their group, they just beat Sweden by 4 points in January and both teams are stuck in group B with Russia and Turkey. Their first game against each other will prove vital on the opening day.
Promotion from Division B can be a tough challenge for any team, particularly when relying on just one or two star players, time will tell if all 3 can keep up with the big guns!