Do you remember this photo from last year’s U18 European Championship in the B division? It made promotion to the A division possible. This time around, in group D, the Orange Lions will compete against Finland, Croatia and Spain. The tournament will be held in Volos (Greece).
Throwback to last year
It all started last year, when the Orange Lions (already coached by Paul Vervaeck) first competed against Israel. It was a game which the Orange Lions dominated, but lost in the last seconds. That would be the only lost game during the whole tournament. The Orange Lions defeated every opponent they had to face. A collective performance made it possible to reach the gold medal, and reach promotion to the A division.
From the 21st till the 23rd, the Orange Lions went to Istanbul to play some pre-games against Turkey. The both games were lost (82-76 and 57-76), known for their physical plays. The Orange Lions won their game against Lithuania in Trento with 74-60. Coach Vervaeck knows it’s a big difference than playing in the B division. “It will be a higher level, and also much more difficult. We can reach a higher level to. Some players of next year stayed, and some of our new players showed they have a lot of potential. I am sure that we can make it possible to stay in the A division next year.”
Playing physical will pay off
Eight out of twelve players reached the silver medal in 2017 with the Orange Lions U16 team, and made promotion to the A division possible back then. One of those players is Siem Uijtendaal. He hopes to make great things happen in the A division of U18; just like the great things that happened two years ago. “I am very curious about the level they play in the A division and to see how we will compete against the best teams of Europe. I am really excited to play and make the best of it. We had a good preparation before we entered this tournament. Everyone had to know what they have to do on the court and must know their plays without thinking about it. We also have to fight against every opponent until the end of the game. If we do all of this, I think we can make it to special performances.”
Keye van der Vuurst de Vries