by Yarone Arbel
Germany showed again their ability to face the pressure with a 56-54 win over Latvia in the Classification Round of the U16 European Championship played at Osnovna Skola Jugoslavija in Bar, Montenegro on Tuesday afternoon.
Thanks to the win Germany now stand on a 2-0 record, while Latvia dropped to 1-1 in the standings before their key game tomorrow.
The next day will feature Germany facing Denmark while Latvia will take on Israel to break the tie in the record of both teams.
Paul Zipser had 18 points and seven boards for the Germans.
Oskars Reinfelds finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Sandis Cepliti had 10 points
Germany took an early lead and held on to it, other than one possession, until the first buzzer with a 19-16 advantage.
Edgars Stelmahers tied the game from the arc, but Zipser completed a three point play, and Phillip Daubner pushed it to 29-22 after 16 minutes of basketball, yet Latvia was ready to answer.
Reinfelds and Ceplitis led their team to score eight points in a row, take the lead and eventually walk to the locker room with a 30-30 tie.
The cat and mouse chase resumed after the break, until Germany scored seven points in a row to finish the third quarter with a 44-37 lead, but it wasn't over yet.
Zipser scored from the arc and Julius Seither added a jumper and with five minutes to play it was already a 13 point game, 51-38 yet Latvia made one last push.
Once again Reinfelds and Ceplitis were the ones to react first, and a three pointer by the first set the score on 55-51 inside the last minute.
He added another right with the buzzer to make it look closer than it was but might make a difference down the road if Latvia win their next encounter with Germany by three.