U18 Spars Sarajevo moved one step from its third berth at the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Finals by beating U18 Cedevita Zagreb 77-104 to reach the final of the ANGT Qualifying Tournament - Marko Ivkovic Belgrade. Spars, which played at the 2012-13 and 2014-15 ANGT Finals, will square off against five-time reigning ANGT Belgrade champion U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade in the final on Sunday night. Aleksa Stepanovic led the way for Spars with 35 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks while Sandro Antunovic picked up 24 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. Amar Gegic collected 11 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 blocks for the winners while Sani Campara added 13 points and 7 assists. Cedevita, which will play against U18 Partizan Belgrade for third place, was paced by Luka Barisic with 23 points while Dzanan Musa had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Darko Bajo ended with 14 points and Toni Perkovic had 12 points in the loss.
Perkovic hit the game’s first basket with Campara answering with a three-ball and Srdan Kocic’s triple putting Spars up 2-8 early. Musa and Barisic followed with three-pointers to help Cedevita even things at 10-10. Stepanovic answered with 5 points in a 0-9 Spars spurt to go up 10-19. Barisic hit again from long range and Bajo trimmed the gap to 17-19. Spars punched back with 6 straight points and was leading 20-25 after 10 minutes. Antunovic increased the gap to 20-27 to start the second quarter but Spars went scoreless for 3 minutes, allowing Cedevita to cut it to 26-27 on treys from Bajo and Musa. Kocic stopped the drought and back-to-back baskets from Stepanovic had Spars in front 30-37. A Musa basket pulled Cedevita to within 35-38 but Spars had another answer with an 0-8 spurt to make it 35-46. And a pair of Campara free throws in the final second of the first half swelled the lead to 39-50 at intermission.
Antunovic tallied the first 2 baskets of the second half as the lead grew to 39-54. Barisic got Cedevita on the board with a three-ball and Bajo hit back-to-back baskets to get within 46-54. Cedevita could not come up with the defensive stops and Stepanovic’s three-point play made it 50-63. Barisic and Dario Kuzmanovic both hit long balls and Bajo converted a three-point play for Cedevita but Stepanovic and Campara both nailed triples and Antunovic scored just before the buzzer to put Spars up 59-77 after 30 minutes. Gegic’s basket to start the fourth quarter had the lead up to 20 points - 59-79. Cedevita hit the next 4 points to trim the deficit to 63-79 with Spars calling a timeout. Spars came out of the talk with a 1-9 run to go ahead 64-88 with less than 5 minutes to play. And Campara scored to make it 69-95 with 3 minutes left. Cedevita did not get closer than 21 points the rest of the way.
Sunday, February 28, 2016