By Cindy Garcia-Bennett, Novi SadSpain staged a dramatic fightback in the final five minutes to stun Poland 71-66 and reach the final of the UMCOR U18 European Championship Women for the fourth consecutive year.
The defending champions were on the ropes and trailing 62-54 but showed true resolve to beat the Poles.
|Weronika Idczak led Poland with 20 points and five rebounds.|
Alba Torrens led Spain in scoring with 19 points, six of which were in the final three minutes.
Torrens and team-mate Laura Nicholls, who finished with 15 points while also pulling down 11 rebounds, were the real inspiration behind Spain's comeback.
Carlos Colinas' side led for the first seven minutes of the game before Weronika Idczak's jumpshot gave Poland a 15-14 lead.
Both teams exchanged the lead in the second quarter with Spain frustrating Poland's hopes of pulling away.
The Poles did go into the break with a 36-33 lead, thanks partly to Idczak's hot hand -she had 14 of her game-high 20 points in the opening half.
Poland went on a 6-2 surge at the start of the third quarter but Laura Herrera's contribution in attack kept Spain in the game.
With six minutes remaining, Poland took a 60-51 lead but Torrens' three point-play reduced the gap 60 to 54 as Spain battled back.
"We are so delighted to be in the final," said Torrens.
"We knew this semi-final was going to be very difficult and it certainly was.
"But we always believed we could do it."
Spain were 23 of 55(41.8%) from the floor while their opponents were 23 of 65 (34.8%).