|Silke Lenssens and her team-mates kept their nerve in crunch time to clinch a vital win and advance to the next stage|
Belgium led from start to finish to win 46-41 over their Dutch neighbours in Group C and seal qualification to the second round of the U16 European Championship Women.
Belgium needed a win to maintain their interest in the competition and had to withstand the loss of point-guard Sofia Ouahabi, who did not play due to injury.
The Belgian team began with a 6-0 spurt, and Pauline Compere's three-pointer ended a fanastic first quarter putting them ahead 18-6.
The Dutch team switched to a full-court press in the second period to gain some momentum for the Netherlands but they could not get anything inside, as Serena-Lynn Geldof patrolled the paint with two emphatic blocks in quick succession.
Femke Slim broke away in the dying seconds of the half to convert a fast-break lay-up, keeping her team in touch though still facing a 31-20 deficit at the break.
The Netherlands came back to cut the lead to just three points, but couldn't get closer as the Belgian defense stood firm in the fourth quarter. Janis Ndiba's put-back again had the Dutch team within three, 44-41 down with two minutes left, but clutch free throws from Silke Lenssens sealed the victory.
Lenssens led her team with 13 points while Geldof ended with nine points, six rebounds and six blocks.
Ndiba was again great on the boards with 14 rebounds, but no player reached double-figures for the Dutch, who will now nervously wait for the final group match between Italy and Lithuania - an Italian win will secure Dutch progress in the tournament.