The 4th day in the U18 European Championship Division B saw Belgium complete the Preliminary Round with a perfect record to win Group B while things got complicated in Group C after England edged Belarus as the action continues in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In Group A Finland remained in the picture following a 71-66 win over Switzerland, to drop the Swiss out of the race with a 1-3 record. Finland jumped to a 2-1 balance and tomorrow the battle between them, Netherlands and the Czech Republic will be decided for the top two seeds in the group. Villematti Kopio was the star of the game for the winners with 23 points and Markus Molenius added 20 while Jeffrey Schwab scored 17 for Switzerland.
In the other game in Group A the Czech Republic routed Slovakia 88-46. The Slovaks looked like they could give their neighbours a real fight early in the game when they trailed by only 2 points at 10-12 after 6 minutes. But then the Czechs broke the game wide open behind a solid double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds by Martin Kriz. The result gives the Czechs a clean 3-0 record before their last group game and leaves the Slovaks winless at the bottom of Group A.
|Belgium Head Coach Etienne Louvrier must like his team's performances so far |
Group B witnessed Belgium remain perfect and finish the Preliminary Round with a perfect 4-0 record after a 66-50 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Harm Loontiens registered his tournament high of 16 points for Belgium, while Ernad Mujic topped the losers' score sheet with 17 points and will try tomorrow to help his team grab the 2nd spot in the group against Hungary.
"The game was very good for us. Our target was to keep them on a low score because our defense is our best key," said the winning coach Etienne Louvrier.
"We were a little bit afraid in the beginning because they are tall and good outside scorers, but we found the way to win the game and it makes me happy."
Scotland was better than Hungary with a 46-38 win to create a 4-way tie behind Belgium as all the other teams in the group hold a 1-2 record. The last quarter of this game finished in a 2-2 tie. Before that Alasdair Fraser hit 16 for Scotland and Bence Délity collected 8 in favor of Hungary.
"We knew it's going to be a very hard game. Commitment and hard work gave us the win today," said Scotland play caller Doug Reilly.
"We are facing another very hard game against Portugal tomorrow."
In Group C a spearhead between England, Belarus and Israel will be decided after the last two will clash to see if Israel can remain perfect and win the group or Belarus can create a three-way tie out of which any scenario is possible.
England pulled out a 70-68 win over Belarus to stay in the race for the first two spots, but need Belarus to smash Israel tomorrow by more than 26 points to survive a three-way tie. Vitali Liutych was a big power again with 27 points but Devon Van Oostrum stepped up for England with another big performance of 23 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. England climbed to 3-1 and finished their games in the Preliminary Round, while Belarus lost for the first time and dropped to 2-1.
Israel cruised to an 80-52 win over Romania as Noam Laish scored 15 and Bar Timor added 11
|Octavian Crainic and Romania could not scare the hosts in theri quest to Division A|
with 5 assists. The hosts remain perfect with a 3-0 record and a win or a loss up to 8 points versus Belarus tomorrow will give Israel the top spot in Group C. Romania dropped to 0-3 before their last Group C action tomorrow against Denmark.
In Group D Georgia is still without a win after a surprising loss to Luxembourg 72-68 behind a great finish by the eventual winners. Ben Melcher contributed 27 points and Alex Laurent added 23 points and 16 rebounds for the happy side who took a 2-1 record. Duda Sanadze had 24 and 7 rebounds for Georgia.
Montenegro blew out Estonia 103-54 behind a solid team performance as 7 players scored 8 points or more. The game was one-sided from the start as the Balkan side took a quick 15-0 lead and kept hammering their opponents throughout the game. Radosav Spasojevic was the top scorer for his side with 24 point, adding 4 rebounds. The Baltic team had their best scorer in Janari Jöesaar who had 12 points to go with his 4 rebounds. Estonia still sit top of the group at 3-1 but will have to watch Montenegro take this place since they are resting tomorrow.