|Jiri Soula and the Czech Republic kept their cool to hang on in a first day classic in Ventspils|
The Czech Republic prevailed 68-67 in a thrilling Group B contest against Greece in Ventspils on Thursday to claim their first win of the U18 European Championships.
The Czech Republic appeared to have the game won holding an eight-point lead with under two minutes remaining, but Greece's desperate comeback went down to the wire as Ioannis Kouzeloglou hit a three-point shot with four seconds remaining. With possession of the ball and just seconds remaining, the Czechs were able to hold onto the win.
A tight, low-scoring first half encounter turned into a second half shootout as both sides settled in and began making shots. Alexandros Spyridonidis and Anastasios Spyropoulos inspired Greece in an exciting third quarter while Czech point guard Radovan Kouril did damage of his own to keep his team a step ahead their opponents.
Power forward Martin Peterka paced the Czech Republic with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Kouril's 17 points and six assists and a 17-rebound evening from Prokop Slanina also impressed.
Speedy point guard Spyridonidis was Greece's best player with 15 points and a number of vital late-quarter plays.