by Paul Nilsen
Netherlands continued their summer of remarkable success in Division B basketball as they followed up promotion to Division A by claiming the gold medal with a 71-59 success over Croatia.
Having already won top flight status in the U20 Men and U20 Women categories, the U16 women made light work of overcoming Croatia with a superb second half performance.
Croatia had been 28-26 ahead in the game and looking good for a lead at the half when Netherlands produced a great couple of minutes. They locked down the Croatians and stepped up their offence to score the last 8 points of the half including a big three-pointer by Gabrielle Van Den Bosch to head into the interval with a 34-28 advantage.
Croatia also had a poor start to the third quarter and it proved costly as Netherlands eased away to they kept their opponents at a comfortable arms length. Croatia could get no closer than six points during the last ten minutes and it was left to Netherlands top scorer Van Den Bosch to score the last basket of the game and spark the celebrations.
Van Den Bosch certainly set the tone, bagging 5 steals to go with her 14 points while Sharon Lammerink was in dominant form as she tore down 13 rebounds to go with hr 10 points as she completed a memorable double-double. The loss was certainly tough to take for Ivana Blazevic as the Croatian star claimed a game high 20 points and 3 rebounds.
Earlier in the day, Slovak Republic picked themselves up from the disappointment of failing to gain promotion by securing the bronze medal with a comfortable 77-50 win over Denmark.
A strong second half ensured their podium finish as they held Denmark to just 16 points while racking up 38 of their own to cruise to victory. Beata Janoscikova secured 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks while Lenka Slezarikova was in irresistible mood from downtown as she drained four of seven triples to end up with 14 points.