In a game that was well supported by a local crowd, and with an outcome that many people will hope will be replicated in the Final Four Championship Game, Real Madrid held on to take the Adidas Next Generation Tournament. They were facing strong opponents in the reigning champions Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade but the home team managed to hang on for a victory in the end, with the score-line being mighty close.
The game was played out at lunchtime in Madrid on the final day of the Final Four weekend. Some fans would still have been in bed while this match was being played out, conserving energy for the big finale or perhaps struggling to come to terms with too much fun on the Saturday night! However, the fans that made it along to see the final of this game were well rewarded with an excellent match which showcased a great deal of talent in youth basketball. There will be many barriers in front of these players before they make it to the upper echelons of European basketball, but some of the players and performances will provide hope that the next generation of European basketball stars are waiting in the wings.
These two teams have been highly consistent
This was a rematch of last year’s ANG final, which indicates the consistency of these two teams. It can be difficult to maintain consistency with youth players, but clearly the sides from Madrid and Belgrade are doing great things with youth development. They are both big clubs in basketball and in their country, so they should have a chance of developing great talent, but being big isn’t always a factor in achieving success with youth development. Both of these teams should be extremely proud of their efforts on an ongoing basis when it comes to youth basketball development.
The 73-70 win for Madrid was built upon a strong middle half of the game. The Belgrade side held the lead at the end of the first quarter, leading 22-15, but in the next two quarters, Real Madrid took control of the game. They outscored Belgrade 24-15 in the second quarter and then 20-14 in the third quarter. They were narrowly ahead at half-time but by the end of the third quarter, they were 8 points ahead. This is not a massive lead in basketball and the fact that Belgrade outscored the side from the host city 14-19 in the last quarter indicates that this was a game that was up for grabs until the end.
Madrid just about held on for the win
In the end, Madrid held on to win by a three point margin and they had some big performances from some of their players. Jonathan Barreiro grabbed 19 points in just over 21 minutes, Santiago Yusta delivered 15 points from 33 minutes and Luka Doncic provided 14 points in 34 minutes. Only two other Madrid players got on to the score sheet, so the form of these three players was crucial in the win.
Aleksander Aranitovic provided 26 points in 37 minutes on court while Vojislav Stojanovic provided 15 points in the same time-frame. The only other Belgrade player in double figures was Borisa Simanic, who offered 11 points in his 32 minutes of court action.