|Sam Hemeleers and Belgium claimed third spot in F.Y.R. of Macedonia|
Belgium inflicted further misery on F.Y.R. Of Macedonia, the hosts of the U18 European Championship Division B, by storming past them 70-45 in the bronze medal game to clinch the last ticket to next year's Division A.
The challenge on Sunday for both the Belgians and the hosts was to recover swiftly from their respective semi-final losses on Saturday and focus on the clash for third place, which is arguably the most important game in the entire tournament as the winner will enjoy the same status the following summer as the two finalists.
F.Y.R. Of Macedonia seemed to have put the unfortunate semi-final loss to Montenegro behind them when they led by five points midway through the opening quarter, but Belgium reacted immediately.
They overtook their hosts by the end of the first quarter and then outscored them 18-7 in the second frame to reach the half-time interval holding a precious 44-27 advantage.
F.Y.R. Of Macedonia reduced the gap to 13 points in the third stanza but their anticipated big comeback assault never materialised, as Belgium came up with a massive defensive performance in the final frame, giving up only six points in that period.
The hosts committed 23 turnovers, of which the Belgians scored 17 points, while Belgium also got 16 easy points in transition, to F.Y.R. Of Macedonia's four points.
Forward Vincent Kesteloot was immense for the winners as he finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds while center Ismael Bako also collected a double-double, of 10 points and 10 boards; Kristijan Nikolov had a team-high 13 points and Andrej Magdevski picked up 12 points and six rebounds for F.Y.R. Of Macedonia.
ISRAEL TAKE FIFTH PLACE
Israel edged ahead of Sweden shortly before the end of the opening frame in the Game for 5th Place and used a big second-quarter performance to take a 44-28 lead at the interval.
Sweden never managed to recover from that setback and Israel celebrated a comfortable 84-68 victory and fifth place at the U18 European Championship Division B.
Joaquin Szuchman paved the way for the winners with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists, Itay Segev collected a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Naor Sharon and Gal Gelinski also scored 12 points apiece, the latter dishing out a game-high eight assists; for Sweden, Ludvig Hakanson finished with 19 points in a losing effort.
ESTONIA FINISH IN SEVENTH
Estonia outscored the Netherlands 31-14 in the final quarter of their clash on Sunday to overcome a 10-point disadvantage and clinch seventh spot in the tournament with a 75-68 triumph.
Karl Jürjens finished with a team-high 17 points for the winners, Sten Olmre chipped in with 14 points and six assists and Saimon Sutt contributed 13 points and six rebounds; for the Dutch, Jaron Dijkhuizen picked up a double-double of a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds in defeat.
FINLAND CLAIM NINTH SPOT
Finland used a solid third quarter performance to take control of proceedings in the Game for 9th Place against Portugal and then held on in the clutch, were the Portuguese always come up strong, to pick up a 69-60 victory.
Tuomas Hirvonen led all scorers with 20 points and added five rebounds and six assists and Shawn Hopkins finished with 16 points and four rebounds for the Finns; Nuno Ferreira had 17 points and five rebounds for Portugal.
CLASSIFICATION GAMES 11TH - 22ND
Germany stormed past Belarus 70-43 to clinch 11th spot in the tournament, as they shot 47.5% from the floor and kept their opponents to a meagre 24.2% field goal percentage.
Lars Schlüter scored 13 points and Robert Zinn with Christian Sengfelder contributed 12 points each in Germany's win, while Yauheni Beliankou finished with 17 points and seven rebounds for Belarus in a losing effort.
Hungary pulled away from Norway in the third quarter and maintained a comfy cushion until the end, registering a 77-67 victory to take 13th place; Tibor Bán and Brúnó Bazsó paved the way for the winners with 15 points each and three more Hungary players scored in double digits.
Switzerland built a 39-18 lead over Romania by the half-time interval and although the Romanians found solutions on the offensive end in the second half, the Swiss held on for a 62-58 win that gave them 15th place in the tournament; Noé Anabir finished with 13 points and Patrick Bianchi had 10 points for the Swiss.
Denmark overpowered the Slovak Republic 83-68 and finished in 17th spot, as Rasmus Hansen scored 19 points and Johannes Nielsen with Mathias Christensen chipped in with 17 points each.
Luxembourg defeated Austria 73-66 to take 19th place and Georgia enjoyed a 94-68 rout of Scotland to finish in 21st spot.