By Leslie Anderson
Italy and Slovenia became the first teams to book their spot in the semi-finals of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women Division B.
Italy remained unbeaten in overcoming Croatia 58-50 in group E.
Croatia got off to their traditional good start but Italy took hold of the match with some clinical finishing in the second period to take an 11-point half-time (40-29). Croatia reduced the deficit to eight late in the match but they never really threatened the hosts.
Giulia Pasqualin led the winners with 17 points but did not score in the second half.
She said after the game: "When we started to play a little harder and put pressure on defence we were then able to come back and win this."
Marco Rota, the Italian head coach said: "We achieved our first goal. So we can think about Thursday's game with less pressure which is good because we have two injured players, Alessandra Tava and Irene Pieropan who should be back by Saturday."
Slovenia followed Italy into the semi-finals from Group E with a hard-fought victory 77-69 over Bosnia and Herzegovina in an excitinig game.
Slovenia was trailing by 4 points coming into the last quarter, but Tjasa Gortnar and Lea Jagodic turned the match round by scoring a combined 21 points out of Slovenia's 25 for this quarter.
Nika Baric finished with a game-high of 27 points for Slovenia, while Tamara Kapor had 21 for Bosnia and Matea Tavic scored 20 for Bosnia.
Damir Grgic, the Slovenia coach, said after the match: "I don't think it was a good match for us. We took too long to get into it and it was not until the final quarter that we finally started to play our game. Our players showed a little bit too much respect for the opposition."
Germany made almost certain of a semi-final spot after a comfortable victory against England (50-40) in Group F. Svenja Brunckhorst top-scored with 16 points and also took 6 boards and shot seven-of-ten from the field.
Germany dominated the boards (38 to England's 21) while England were dissapointing in beyond the arc shooting with no basket made in 12 attempts.
After the match Svenja Brunckhorst said: "It was a difficult beginning for us, but once we got into our stride and did simple things, then our game came together."