Germans Put Latvian Future In Doubt

12.08.2009

By Yarone Arbel

Latvia missed a big chance to secure a spot in the Quarter-Finals on Wednesday after a 69-63 loss to Germany on the last day of the Qualifying Round In Group F of the Omnitel U16 European Championship Men.

A win would have given Latvia the sure ticket for the top eight teams.

Now Latvia wait for the score in the game between Serbia and Croatia.

Latvia's loss means Croatia is already in the next round, but Serbia must win in order to take over Latvia's spot in the top four of the group.

For Germany the game didn't matter other than for pride, and their constant fight for 40 minutes in the name of sports deserves credit.

Germany finished the group with a 1-4 record and will play the 9-12 classification games.

Today they scored 28 points in the last quarter - an amount that is equal to the total points they scored in the fourth quarter of their last four games.

Four players scored for Germany between 11 and 13 points. Jakob Krumbeck and Julius Wolf had 13 each, Alexander Blessig added 12 while big guy Tim Unterluggauer added 11 and ten boards.

Janis Berzins had 16 points for Latvia followed by Kaspars Vecvagars with 14 and also seven rebounds. Ojars Silins added 11 points and three blocks.

The game was very tensed from the first minute.

It took Latvia over six minutes to score their first points, and by then Germany had a 10-0 lead, but it didn't last long.

Latvia answered with a 10-2 run that extended to the first minute of the second quarter, and a three point by Silins tied the game at 17-17.

Berzins joined the long distance scoring party but Germany kept fighting and the teams went to the break still with a tie, 25-25.

Vecvagars was very active, sometimes for good and sometimes not, but it wasn't enough to make a real difference.

Down by four, 55-51, with three minutes to go, Germany made their break.

Nine points in a row, by four different players, put them on top by a decent 60-55 lead with a minute to play.

In the last minute the Germans scored on all eight free throw attempts, which didn't leave much hope for Latvia despite two tough three-pointers by Vecvagars.

The final buzzer found Latvia look at the Croatian players, praying them to save their day.


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