|Plenty to celebrate for the talented Latvia squad that are now facing their big brother Russia in the Semis|
Latvia continued their magical journey and set two feet in the semi-finals of the OMNITEL U18 European Championship following a big 78-56 in Siemens Arena on Friday afternoon.
Following yet another win Latvia will take on Russia tomorrow to fight for a spot in the title game on Sunday night, while the loser will battle on the bronze medal.
Croatia will face France tomorrow in the 5-8 classification round in hope to finish the tournament with a good taste.
Against expectations Latvia managed to make this an easy win after taking a double-digit lead already in the first half and enter the half time break up by 15 points.
Despite the absence of injured Arturs Bremers Latvia dominated the game from the start and didn't leave Croatia any chance to make a sound.
With a 50-38 advantage in the rebounds Latvia had an easier time to execute their plans.
"My heart is beating so hard now," shared Ziedonis Jansons who led his team one win from a medal.
"Our players did a great job and played together like lions. They fought for each other and made sure nobody will notice the absence of Bremers.
"If we had won by a single point it was enough, but we won by 22 and I'm happy about that," he continued "but now we need to do a lot of psychological work so the players won't be over-confident tomorrow in a very tough match against Russia.
"In case they won't play well tomorrow it means the coaching staff didn't do their job well."
Davis Bertans had a big game with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, Janis Timma added 16 points and 6 rebounds while Edmunds Dukulis had a double-double of his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Kaspars Vecvagars took home 13 points.
Boris Barac had a good performance with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Roko Rogic added 12.
Bertans with a big fast break three pointer made it 12-7 for Latvia and after Dukulis added 4 in a row it felt more comfortable on the Latvian side.
The same Bertans stepped up with 5 points in a row to make it 21-11 and reach 10 individual points, but Croatia wasn't done yet.
Rogic and Dario Saric from the arc and Barac with nice moves around the rim didn't allow their opponent to keep their run going, until Arnolds Helmanis scored 7 points in a row and recorded a 37-20 Latvian lead after 19 minutes.
Right after the break Timma scored from three point land, Dukulis added a big dunk and a bonus from the charity stripe to push the margin over 20, to seal the deal.
Croatia didn't have the ammunition to make a comeback while the energies of Latvia were too much to handle for most teams.