By Yarone Arbel
Germany tipped off the 2009 Omnitel U16 European Championship with a big win over the Czech Republic, 75-64 in Group C.
14 unanswered points in the second quarter allowed Germany to open a gap that was enough to relay on till the final buzzer, even when the Czechs cut the different to only five late in the third quarter.
Tim Unterluggauer led the winning side with 16 points and seven board, followed by Jakob Krumbeck with 15 and Leon Tolksdorf with 13.
Martin Kriz and Josef Bajar scored 13 each with the first adding six rebounds and four assists. Michal Bernath and Petr Andres scored 11 each.
The silver medalists of 2008 held a 17-19 lead at end of the first quarter, but saw Germany take off inside the second period.
The German team still saw a 27-27 tie 5:30 minutes but wrote a 14-0 run on their way to 44-29 half time lead.
Czech connected points from distance, to move closer but Tolksdorf climbed to individual double-digits to make it once more a ten point German lead, 56-46.
Kris and Andres cut the margin by half, but that was the end to it.
Unterluggauer led a 12-0 run while the Czech team faced difficulties under the rim, to see a 68-51 German early in the fourth quarter, on the sure path to the win.
With this win Germany takes a 1-0 record before facing Spain tomorrow, while the Czech Republic will search for their debut win versus Croatia.
Spain Take OT To Top Croatia
It was anything but easy but Spain reached their first win with a 66-64 victory over Croatia after overtime in Group C.
Croatia were close to force a second overtime, but Stipe Cubric missed a foul shot and made a turnover that allowed Spain to win, before Marko Ramljak missed with the buzzer.
Earlier in the game Spain took a quick big lead that reached already 16 points inside the third quarter, before Croatia made a big come back and used a Ramljak buzzer-beater three pointer to force the first overtime.
Spain produced a balanced score sheet with five players hitting between eight and 11 points led by Daniel Diez with 11 and Fernando Cerqueira with 10.
Ramljak was the star of the day for Croatia with 25 points and seven rebounds while Antonio Boban added 14.
The opening minutes were close until Spain took over. Diez and Cerqueira led their team to a 18-6 lead late in the first quarter.
Croatia were still looking for their right rhythm but Spain were already hot from any range and climbed to a 14 point difference deep in the first half, before Dario Saric scored from the line to cut the difference to 12 by half-time, 36-24.
Saric, who focus a lot of attention here, didn't impress in the first game, and took only one single shot from the field, early in the second half, in addition to five turnovers and five fouls in 23 minutes.
Yet Croatia had other options today.
Diez set the gap on 16 mid-way in the third, but Croatia replied with a 10-1 run until the third buzzer, capped by Ramljak's points from the line.
With five minutes to play in the fourth quarter Spain reached a nine point difference, but Boban and Ramljak were on fire as Croatia entered the last minute with a shocking 53-54 lead.
Spain answered with four points in a row before Ramljak hit a three point in the last second to send the game to overtime, tied 57-57.
He added the first four points of Croatia in overtime, but Spain enjoyed a three ball by Cerqueira and points from the line by Diez to take the lead, before Cubric missed his chances and Spain celebrated a tough win.
Spain will take on Germany as both teams will try to climb to a 2-0 record, while Croatia fight Czech Republic as both teams are still in search for a first win.