U18 MEN DIVISION B
|Tournament hosts F.Y.R. of Macedonia are still in the mix for promotion to Division A|
Poland will do battle with Belgium while tournament hosts F.Y.R. of Macedonia will face Montenegro on Saturday, in the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Division B in Strumica.
On Thursday, the Polish took first place in Group E of the quarter-final stage ahead of the hosts, while Montenegro topped Group F, leaving Belgium in second spot.
Meanwhile the Netherlands will go up against Sweden, and Estonia will face off with Israel on Saturday, with the winning sides in these two clashes playing in the game for fifth place in the tournament.
CLASSIFICATION GAMES FOR 1ST TO 8TH PLACE - GROUP E DAY 2
F.Y.R. of Macedonia needed the win against the Netherlands on Thursday and entered the court displaying steely determination on the defensive end, keeping the Dutch to 20 points in the first half to grab a nine-point advantage at the interval.
The Dutch managed to match their hosts in a high-scoring third quarter but F.Y.R. of Macedonia had enough left in the tank to widen the gap even further in the final frame and clinch a 69-55 victory.
Point guard Kristijan Nikolov paved the way for the hosts with 17 points and four assists, Andrej Magdevski had 15 points and five rebounds and Ljubomir Mladenovski finished with 13 points and nine rebounds; Pim de Vries collected 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Netherlands in a losing effort.
Later on Thursday, Poland assumed control of proceedings in their clash against Estonia from early on but dealt the master blow in the third quarter, when they outscored their opponents 26-3 to take a 30-point lead going into the final frame.
Despite Estonia's late comeback attempt, the Polish cruised to a 67-52 triumph and won Group E with a perfect 3-0 record.
Forward Damian Jeszke was the only Polish player to score in double-digits and finished with 12 points and four rebounds, while Pawel Dzierzak chipped in with nine points, six assists and three rebounds; Estonia's Jaagup Russak had a game-high 16 points and added four rebounds and three assists.
|Vaso Milovic was one of three players to score in double figures for Montenegro|
CLASSIFICATION GAMES FOR 1ST TO 8TH PLACE - GROUP F DAY 2
All four teams in Group F were standing at 1-1 and entered the second day of action in the group with a fair chance to clinch a top-two finish, but Montenegro and Belgium won the decisive encounters on Thursday.
Belgium surprised Sweden by taking an 11-point advantage in the opening quarter and extended the cushion to 14 points by the end of the third quarter, enough to withstand the Swedish assault in the clutch and hold on for a 66-59 win.
Vincent Kesteloot paved the way for the Belgians with 15 points and added six rebounds, while Alexandre Eyenga had 12 points; Sweden's Alexander Larsson picked up a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Montenegro followed the Belgian approach in the second game of the group on Thursday and started strong to take a 12-point lead over Israel after just ten minutes of play.
Israel came back in the second half determined to make a stand and clawed their way back, but simply run out of time as Montenegro celebrated a 63-60 victory at the final buzzer.
Zoran Nikolic came up with a 14-point, 9-rebound display for the winners while Luka Djurovic and Vaso Milovic scored 12 points each; Israel's Idan Zalmanson led all scorers with 16 points and added eight rebounds in a losing effort.