U18 MEN DIVISION C
|Moldova used an impressive second quarter to secure their spot in the title game |
Moldova and San Marino will battle it out in the final of the U18 European Championship Division C after winning their respective semi-finals on Friday night.
In the first semi-final of the day, Moldova were too much to handle for hosts Andorra, cruising to an 83-67 win.
After a balanced first quarter, Moldova took full control of the game in the second, outscoring their opponents 30-9 to enter half-time with a commanding 50-24 lead.
While Andorra gave their best after the interval, winning the third frame to start a comeback, Moldova's cushion proved too comfortable.
Vladislav Solopa delivered once more a one-man show for the winning side, as he stayed on the floor for the entire 40 minutes for a near triple-double of 32 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists.
Four players scored in double figures for Andorra, with Sergi Jordana amassing a team-high 15 points.
The second semi-final clash turned into a real thriller, with San Marino hanging on for a narrow 74-70 win over the Principality of Monaco.
San Marino took their biggest lead 15 minutes into the game, going up 28-18.
The Principality of Monaco, however, were not to give in, looking for their first-ever final appearance in this age group.
Finding the right answers immediately, the Monacans cut the deficit to two points at half-time, 31-33.
There was a sense of déjà-vu in the second half, as San Marino watched another 10-point lead of their own melt.
With 1:59 minutes left on the clock, the Monacan side even went up, 64-63, on a basket by Daniel Pieper.
The game went down to the wire, with the scores being tied at 67 with 1:08 minutes left to play.
|San Marino could rely on Julian Gualtieri in the deciding moments of the game|
San Marino found their game hero in Julian Gualtieri, who first sunk a three-pointer and then kept his cool at the free-throw line, scoring seven points in the final 24 seconds.
Gualtieri finished the game with a game-high 26 points, adding nine rebounds, while Pieper collected a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
In the game for 5th place, Gibraltar edged Wales 60-56 in what began as a rout of the Welsh but ended as a game that was decided in the last minute.
Gibraltar stormed out the gates to take a 21-5 lead after 10 minutes of action but Wales, who were hungry for their first and only win of the tournament, never gave up and clawed their way back into the game bit-by-bit.
When Thomas North made two free-throws with 1:18 to play, to reduce the deficit to four, 59-55, everything seemed possible, especially as Timothy Fave missed for the hosts.
Samuel Donagh however, was only able to split his free-throws and Wales could not score before the final buzzer.
Jake Haefner led Gibraltar with 18 points, James Cameron had the same tally for the Welsh.