|22 July 2010|
The opening day of the U18 European Championship Division B tipped off with great enthusiasm as 20 teams fight for the top 2 spots worth a ticket to the Division A tournament in 2011.
In Group A the Czech Republic beat Switzerland 85-74 despite a good start by the Swiss team.
Michel Nzege shone for the losing side with 25 points, which were enough to be the top scorer of the first day. Czech Republic saw 4 players score 14 and up were led by Michal Sotnar with 18.
The second game in the group featured Netherlands downing Finland 80-65 behind 19 points and 8 rebounds from Benjamin Ime Jegen. Osku Heinonen hit 11 for Finland.
In Group B Belgium didn't have big problems against Hungary with a 77-55 victory behind 15 points Obasohan Ojomoh. The same amount of points were scored by Máté Mészáros for the losing side.
Portugal opened their campaign with a 73-61 triumph over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rafael Wildner with 15 points and Jonah Callenbach with 14 led the way for the winners, while Ernad Mujic with 15 and Marko Miletic had 14 in defeat.
Group C saw the hosting team from Israel enjoy a great start with a 71-57 win over England. Israel used a last quarter run to secure the win as Sean Labanowski reached 20 points with 5 steals and Guy Lavie added 12 with 5 steals as well. Joshua Owen-Thomas scored 17 for an English team that missed their best player Devon Van Oostrum.
"The boys were very excited before the game because they have highexpectations of themselves," said Israel's coach Danny Franco.
"We knew the first game is the most stressful and exciting one. The goal was first to go through the first game properly. I hope this win will give us confidence for the next games in the championship."
Belarus enjoyed a good start as well with a 72-60 score over Denmark. Vitali Liutych topped the scoring list with 17 points for the smiling side while Christian Benzon scored 15 for Denmark.
Montenegro set an exclamation mark with the biggest win of the day in their Group D debut after outscoring Austria 89-57. Nemanja Djurisic reached a game high of 22 point to lead 5 players of Montenegro in double digits. Carlos Novas was the only player in Austria to reach double-digits with 14.
"I'm very happy about the first game," said Miodrag Kadita. "We played good for a first game in the championship. We can't say that we are the favorites for winning the competition because it's only the first game and there are many good teams who compete here."
Estonia edged Georgia 59-55 after a close race as Janari Jöesaar piled up 21 points and 11 rebounds. Merab Bokolishvili led Georgia with 15 points but missed two free throws in the last seconds that could have made things different.