The Netherlands defeated the Slovak Republic 75-66 to classify for Division A and reach the Final versus Romania of the U20 European Championship Women Division B.
The Dutch got the win behind Rianne De Roos's 16 points and 15 rebounds.
"We played very good and tough defence during the whole game. This is a new moment in Holland basketball," said Dutch head coach Frans Griffioen.
|The Netherlands team in Ohrid wrote history for Dutch basketball |
"We won the Semi-Final and qualified for the Division A, making history as the first Dutch basketball team, men or women, to play in a final game in all competitions."
The Netherlands got out to an early 20-8 lead with 2:00 to play in the first quarter and never trailed in the game.
The Slovaks managed to keep within striking distance, however, and made a late-game rally to put the Dutch to the test.
After the Netherlands started the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to push their advantage to 18 points (66-48), the Slovak Republic outscored their opponents 10-0 to pull within eight points with less than four to go.
But De Roos stepped up and scored six points over the final four minutes to seal the victory for her team.
"Holland played tougher and better, and they wanted the victory more than us. Congratulations to our opponent for the victory and for the promotion to the Division A," said Slovak Republic head coach Vladimir Karnay, whose team will play Belgium for the bronze.
In the other Semi-Final Romania handled Belgium by the score of 81-67 led by Claudia Pop's complete game of 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
"Our objective was the Final and the ticket to Division A, and we made it," said Romania skipper Madalin Pipera.
"They don't have tall players and just penetrate and shoot, we used that against them."
Belgium started well and enjoyed a 9-2 lead in the game's opening minutes, but Romania responded with a 15-0 run that turned the tide in their favour for good.
"This was THE game, and we failed," said Belgium head coach Benny Mertens.
"We had a very bad first half, the opponent has both height in the paint and experienced outside players, and that was the decisive factor for the result."
In other Division B action, Portugal edged Hungary 57-56 while Greece narrowly defeated Israel 73-71.
Portugal and Greece will now play for the fifth and sixth places with the seventh and eighth places to be disputed between Hungary and Israel.
In Group C, Great Britain beat F.Y.R. of Macedonia 80-57.