It was party time in Oberwart at the U20 European Championship Men 2010 Division B after Sweden and home town favourites Austria celebrated their new status after gaining promotion to Division A with wins over Poland and Bulgaria.
|Andreas Person and Sweden are waiting for the hosts in the final where both promoted teams play pout the division B champ|
The hosts were thrilled and also relieved after getting past a strong Bulgaria team 76-71 with a superb 13-0 start to the second half very much the key as was their containment of Bulgarian star Aleksandar Georgiev who could only muster ten points.
Austria were looking comfortable during the latter stages of the second quarter having shot the ball superbly from outside but an 8-2 finish to the period got Bulgaria to within one basket at 41-39 at the interval.
Despite the strong end to the opening half by Bulgaria, it was Austria who made the decisive run immediately after the break when 7 points in a row by Seilern formed the basis for that devastating 13-0 burst which proved to be so important.
Equally, the Austrian defence keeping Bulgaria scoreless for in excess of five minutes was essential as they built up a lead of fifteen points. However Bulgaria did rally and got to within 73-69 in the closing stages but the home team held their nerve to see out a famous win and spark triumphant celebrations both on and off the court.
The star for the home team was once again Rasid Mahalbasic who claimed a terrific 17 points and 12 rebounds while Romed Vieider top scored with 20 points. Meanwhile Bozhidar Avramov finished with 21 points for Bulgaria after sinking an impressive 5 of 7 from downtown.
It was 27 points and 5 steals by Andreas Person that propelled Sweden to a 79-69 success against Poland while Christopher Ryan also made a big contribution with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Poland were punished for too many turnovers and poor finishing around the basket with the more controlled Swedish team taking full advantage. After a hard fought first half, Sweden led 42-38 heading into the locker room at the midway point of the game but six unanswered points at the beginning of the third quarter handed the lead back to Poland.
However a few minutes later, when Christopher Czerapowicz buried a three-pointer to put Sweden 49-47 ahead, it proved pivotal since it would prove to be a lead they would successfully defend for the remainder of the game. Poland tried hard and in fact it was still a one shot game with just over four minutes to go but Sweden kept their nerve and finished strongly to punch their Division A ticket.
The loss was particularly tough on Aleksander Czyz who had a monstrous 24 points and 13 rebounds for Poland but it wasn't enough to get his team into the top flight.