Youth international basketball qualification round continues

 SandraJapundza and Lea Jagodic from Slovenia  © IT Sports - Limor Noah

The youth international basketball U18 tournament in Eilat started with a bang on day 5 as Germany ended the unbeaten run of Bosnia and Herzegovina (70-64).

Finland stay in the hunt for a quarter-final place after beating England (57-53).

Slovenia joined Hungary from Group E in the quarter-final. However the last two places will be decided on the final day of group action between England, Finland, Portugal and Romania.

Croatia are out of the run after losing (61-66) to Denmark.

Israel beat Greece (66-54) with a more balanced attack with four players in double digits to remain on top of Group F.

Germany joins Bosnia in the quarter-final, while the last place from Group F for the quarter-final stage will be decided in the match between Denmark and Greece.

You can read more about youth international basketball reports from the following games by clicking on the links or scrolling down the page:

Finland 57-53 England

Hungary 58-48 Portugal

Romania 60-64 Slovenia

 England record first win © IT Sports - Limor Noah

Finland punished England in the final period

The only score in the first two minutes of play came from Salla Ekström. Ekström scored 4 more points in the paint for Finland to lead (6-0) with a little of three minutes played. England finally got on the scoreboard through Ella Clark quickly followed by a couple of free-throws by Jessica Hurd. Finland quickly caught England sleeping with Nea Mäkelä sneaking in the back door to score. When England was down by 4 points (6-10) they changed tactics and players more frequently to scored 6 straight points to take the lead for the first time in the match after back back scores from Francesca Whitby (12-10). The game became rather scrappy towards the end of the quarter. However England held on to the lead (14-12). The second period started slowly with nothing happening offensively for almost three minutes before Gemma Bullard scored for England.  Lars Ekström explaining during time-out © WomensBasketball-in-FranceThis action forced Lars Ekström (left), the coach from Finland, to call a time-out. Things did not improve for Finland with Josephine Salmon hitting a trey. England continued to score regularly and led (27-19) with just under three minutes left to play. When the Finnish coach called for another time-out the pace picked up with a flourish of baskets from both sides.  Deirdre Hayess speaking at the interval © WomensBasketball-in-FranceThis annoyed Deirdre Hayes, (right) the English head coach, who called for a time-out with 55 seconds left to play with England leading (31-24). Yet Anni Mäkitalo punished England twice for poor execution to reduce her side's deficit at the interval (28-31). The pace went up slightly and England became more aggressive: Clark blocked Mäkitalo and Katrin Chiemeka picked the ball on the baseline and went coast to coast to score. Mäkitalo was then called for an intentional foul on Chiemeka, who hit the free-throws. England then went on the rampage with Jamila Thompson and Kristie Sheils opening their accounts. This allowed England to go into the final period leading (45-38). Finland punished England for every turnover committed and regained the lead (48-46) with six minutes left to play.  Mirka Kilpijärvi on her way to the bassket © IT Sports - Limor Noah

England continued to turn the ball over and then allowed Mirka Kilpijärvi (right) to walk into the paint for a lay-up (52-48) with 3:11 to play. Finland’s patience paid off and Kilpijärvi was left open to score (54-48) with 1:41 to play. Finland held on to win (57-53).

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

U18 youth international basketball 2009 audio after match comments Lars Ekström, the Finnish head coach, was happy with the start of the game despite the fact that the ball refused to drop. He believed that his players were a little excited at the moment. So they would have to concentrate and defend and go for fast breaks.

 Deirdre Hayess speaking at the interval © WomensBasketball-in-France

Vilja Kesänen and Laura Saarinen, together after the match, explained that the defense was good and everybody played hard throughout the game and did not give up.

The three-point shooting was not good but they did well in rebounding and expected to win the following day and would hit the three-pointers.

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Hungary kept it simple in beating Portugal

 Hungary and Portugal in Eilat © IT Sports - Limor Noah

Both teams started slowly as they played a little cat and mouse (8-8) for the first five minutes.

Hungary then stepped on the turbo and in less than 60 seconds with Réka Bálint firing in a three-pointer quickly followed by points from Alma Németh and Dorottya Tamis they extended their lead against Portugal (14-8).

Mariyana Kostourkova, the head coach from Portugal, called for a time-out. Her girls slowed down the pace of the game and stopped the Hungarian onslaught.

Hungary still ended the first period ahead (18-10).

 England record first win © IT Sports - Limor Noah

Hungary dominated the first six minutes of the second quarter and pushed their advantage up to 12 points (25-12) with four minutes remaining in the quarter.

A three-pointer by Filipa Bernardeco got the Portuguese bench off their feet in the only highlight before the interval and their side leading (30-20).

Portugal were more aggressive defensively in the third period.

They restricted Hungary to just 4 points in the first five minutes while scoring 8 points after Daniela Domingues hit a couple of free-throws (34-28).

Hungary reacted and put together an 8-0 run and regained control of the game again. They went into the final period leading (46-33).

Hungary were never in danger again and went on to win comfortably (58-45).

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

Slovenia left it late but won

 Thjasa Gortnar happy for quarter-final qualification © IT Sports - Limor Noah

The start of the match resembled a three-point shooting contest as the two teams traded a couple of shots each in an (8-8) opening sequence with three minutes on the game clock.

Tina Jakovina from Slovenia picked up 3 quick fouls and eventually returned to the bench. Romania took advantage of the mismatch and went on a 9-0 run to lead (17-9).

Nika Baric hit her second trey of the game to end the onslaught. Yet it was Romania that led (19-13) by the end of the quarter.

Romania continued to play more collectively with four players scoring as they stretched their advantage (25-14) with three minutes played in the second period.

 Gabriela Cursa © Womensbasketball-in-france.comGabriela Cursaru (right) put the shot of the period as she hit a fade-way three-pointer from one meter behind the three-point line just as the 24-second violation clock was to sound. She hit a second three seconds later from the baseline (31-15).

Slovenia were 100% reliant on Baric and she did all she could to keep Slovenia in the game with excellent ball handling, passing and scoring as her side struggled to stay in the match.

Romania went into the interval leading (34-21).

Romania got caught three times from the land of many as Slovenia fought back with shots coming Baric, Petra Peric and Polona Zalar all connecting.

Cursaru then tried to save the ball from going out and handed it to Baric who scored and drew the foul.

Romania's advantage was reducing (39-33). They stopped to guard Baric and switched to zone defense and started to find their way to the basket (43-36).

 slovenia plaing Romania at Eilat © IT Sports - Limor NoahSlovenia changed their approach and went to a full court press. The game was becoming a youth international basketball classic as Romania went into the final period leading (45-40).

The teams continued from where they left off in the last quarter with Bojana Duric hitting a trey for Slovenia. But then Romania hit 6 quick points with scoring back to back baskets (53-46).

Zalar fired in a another trey as the game became more and more physical. With 2:52 left to play Romania’s lead was just 1 point (55-54).

Baric tied the game and then gave Slovenia the lead (58-56) with 90 seconds to play.

Cursaru had the chance to tie the game after being fouled when going for a three-point shot. However she scored just 1-from-3 and the chance of levelling the score was gone.

The last second was hectic but Slovenia hung on to win (64-60).

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

Youth international basketball news from Division A

France in pole position for qualification round

France already in Qualification round

Division B news

Bosnia, Hungary and Israel already in quarter-final

The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland are out of the competition

Israel make home advantage count

Slovenia, Germany and Greece qualify for next round

Israel open with a win with 28 points from Cohen

U18 European Championship Women Division B 2009 is hosted by Israel

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Youth International Basketball picture credits:
IT Sports - Limor Noah

Date created: 07 July 2009

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