Last October weekend we had the “oldest” age group – U16 (2008) boys coming to Riga and participating in the first stage.
After the first stage results and standings situation is very surprising and interesting. First of all, team Tartu – last season champions (18-2 record last season) came to first stage without 3 of their key players but still somehow managed to end up undefeated (and Tartu is actually the only team that went home undefeated after first stage!) This time we asked their captain – Patrick Korkka – some questions and thoughts about first stage. Patrick is currently sitting first in assists per game with 7.6 assists per game. His teammate Marten Tulubenski is first at points per game (24 ppg) and first at efficiency per game (25.2). Very impressive!
1. In this stage 3 key players from Tartu weren’t present, but Your team still ended up going home undefeated. What do You think makes Your team so special to manage something like this?
We have great chemistry as a team on and off the court. We trust each other on the court and everybody is always ready to get on the court to fight for the win!
2. Let’s talk about one of the best games this U16 stage – Tartu against Plunge. It felt like Plunge team was controlling the entire game. They even had a 16 point lead at one point. Each time Tartu tried to make a little comeback, Plunge answered right back with some difficult shots. However last quarter (19-7 Tartu) was completely different story. Few comments about this game and how were You able to make the comeback in such emotional and tense game?
The moment we were down by 16 points we knew there wasn’t going to be problem, because we have been in these kinds of situations very many times, so we knew we are going to comeback and win the game. The reason why we were down by 16 was because our defense wasn’t working, so our coach Martin Rosenthal figured out that we should play 2-3 zone on defense and that was for sure the key of winning the game. And of course I should mention Marten Tulubenski’s incredible game against Plunge where he had 35 points, 7 rebounds and 41 efficiency!
3. What are Tartu team goals this season?
We want to win every league that we play in this year and especially defend our title in BBBL!
A.Kraukla VEF team who ended up winning silver medals last season (lost to Tartu 49-50 in final game) ended up first stage going 2-3. This season they have lost one of their last season’s leaders – Olivers Krilkovs – who is continuing his basketball career in Italy. 3 out of 5 games for VEF team ended up going to the wire (39-38 win vs Alvik Basket, 68-69 loss vs Noo Spordikool and 56-57 loss vs Saku KK/KK Parnu team. It’s safe to say that they will definitely bounce back in next stages!
Last season’s bronze team – Ridzene. They have lost 3 of their last season’s leaders! Is this stopping them? NO! Ridzene team actually had the best record out of all Latvian teams after first stage (3-2). They were the only team who could figure out Noo Spordikool team, gave Malbas BBK team their first loss, also won against Alvik Basket team, but did manage to lose against Saku KK/KK Parnu team and last match against A.Kraukla VEF team. We certainly need to give Ridzene team credit! They are a very challenging team to face.
Another fun surprise after first stage? Saku KK/KK Parnu cooperation with each other. They ended up winning 4 games, only losing the first game by one point to Basketbola klase. That’s already more wins than team Saku had entire last season where they won 3 out of 15 games.
With 4 wins and 1 loss also ended up the new addition this season to BBBL U16 Boys – Plunge SRC team from Lithuania and Noo Spordikool from Estonia.
We can’t lie – U16 group looks really exciting! We’re up for very great surprises and games!
Final standings after first stage:
- Tartu University BS – 5/0
- Plunge SRC – 4/1
- Noo Spordikool – 4/1
- Saku KK/KK Parnu – 4/1
- Taurage BS – 3/2
- Ridzene – 3/2
- Malbas BBK – 3/2
- KK Viimsi/Kesklinna/KK/GAG – 3/2
- Mažeikiai – 2/3
- KK Sokud – 2/3
- Kraukla VEF – 2/3
- Mārupe – 2/3
- Alvik Basket – 1/4
- Basketbola klase – 1/4
- Taltech BS – 1/4
- East Ball – 0/5
Top-10 episodes from U16 first stage You will find here:
Next stage for U16 boys is planned at the beginning of February – 02.02-04.02.2024 again in capital city of Latvia – Riga and beautiful Viimsi city in Estonia!
In U16 (2008) boys age group 20 teams total have registered from 6 countries:
Finals stage for U16 boys will be happening in Valmiera, Latvia, 17-19 May! Let’s go!!!