Youth international basketball
quarter-final day in Eilat
No Upsets

 Hungary on the way to the semi-final  © Yossi Dos-Santos

The youth international basketball quarter-finals in Eilat did not produce the fireworks that were expected with the top 2 teams from the group stages qualifying for the semi-final.

Hungary were never pushed by Greece. By the interval the suspense was over.

Hungary once again turned their roster and did enough in the second half to win (65-42).

 Shira Shecht and Saara Kokko © Eli Stern IT SportsFinland gave Israel a fright in the first quarter in what was just a youth international basketball shoot-out.

Israel started to take control in the second period and the game lost its fireworks with Israel doing what they needed to win (75-66).

Slovenia destroyed Bosnia and Herzegovina (81-60). Slovenia hit 14 three-pointers in the match.

Germany always seemed to be in control but somehow made hard work of their victory against Portugal (79-68).

There is a little youth international basketball history for Switzerland U18, who recorded their first victory at this level by beating Norway (47-41) in the classification game for 14th place.

In the other games played Croatia beat Romania (62-53) and Denmark won against England (62-51).

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

Hungary 65-42 Greece

Israel 75-66 Finland

Slovenia 81-60 Bosnia

 Hungary on the way to the semi-final  ©

Hungary give a youth international basketball demonstration

 Krisztina Raksányi  © Eli Stern IT SportsThe contest between Krisztina Raksányi (left) from Hungary and Angeliki Nikolopoulous from Greece started straight from the tip-off. Raksányi won the first dual offensively to open the scoring for Hungary. However she was called early for a blocking foul on Nikolopoulous. Hungary dominated the first four minutes hitting 4-of-5 from the field to lead (8-0). A Greek time-out did not have an immediate effect as Hungary scored their 10th uncontested point. Greece ended their barren spell after six minutes with the hustle of Geirgia Panou paying off as Christina Tsoukala and Maria Tranta scored. Yet the revival was short lived because Raksányi hit back to back three-pointers from different sides of the court to restore the 10-point lead. Nikolopoulous finally got off the mark herself with just under two minutes to play for the last score of the first quarter (8-16). Hungary changed their approach in the second period as they mixed fast breaks with distance shooting. They went on an 11-0 run to go ahead (27-10) with 16 minutes played. They continued their demonstration and stretched their lead to 20 points (32-12) by playing the same system. The Hungarian team went into the interval leading (40-12) with Anna Mansar scoring on the buzzer after conclusion of a fast break. The second period was delayed due to technical problems with the time-keeping equipment.  Melinda Késöi © Eli Stern IT Sports Greece came out firing on all cylinders with Christina Tsoukala scoring 6 points. But Hungary always found somebody to score on the counter attack. The pattern was set for the rest of the quarter with Hungary hitting on the counter attack and controlling the pace of the game. The game as a contest came to an end within the last minutes of the third period with Hungary leading (51-28). Greece were unable to get a run going. With the loss of their leading scorer Tsoukala for 5 fouls with six minutes to play they ended any hope (32-58) of a comeback. The only concern for Hungary was the bad fall of Melinda Késöi (right). Hungary went on to win (66-42).

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

U18 youth international basketball 2009 audio after match comment Krisztina Raksányi is well known as a youth international basketball player. She plays for MiZo Pécs in Hungary and played last season in the EuroLeague Women. She is also known by the fans of Bourges Basket. She explained that the objective remained the same, they came to win the Championship and prove that they did not belong in this division. They showed the difference this day against Greece after an excellent first half. The second half was not so good but the job was done. They would face the winner of the game between Germany and Portugal, teams that they had already played and beaten before so they were hopeful for the rest of the competition.

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Finland's foul problems gave Israel victory

 Shira Ben Barak in action against Finland © Eli Stern IT SportsIf Finland was nervous they did not show it as they went on the attack from the tip-off and scored through Salla Ekström. Israel were soon into their stride with Shira Shecht scoring on the fast break. This action was followed with a trey by Shira Ben Barak (left). Finland upped the pace and for six minutes the game turned into a youth international basketball shoot-out with both teams leading at one stage or other. However back to back baskets from Israel (20-19) was all that Lars Ekström could take. He called for a time-out with just over two minutes to play. The two teams continued to play cat and mouse and were counter attacking basketball with Israel gaining the advantage to lead (28-23) at the end of the first period. The game changed completely in the second quarter as Israel started to take control by playing more aggressively in defense. They opened the first lead of any consequence (37-25) with just over three minutes played. After a Finnish time-out the Finnish team found the basket from behind the arc through Vilja Kesänen. However with Avigiel Cohen and Shecht creating space out of nothing Israel maintained their advantage (41-30) with 16 minutes played.  Hadar Gutin in action against Finland © Eli Stern IT SportsFinland lost their way towards the end of the quarter. They allowed Hadar Gutin and Ben Barak to impose their game as Israel went into the interval leading (48-34). Finland struggled to contain the Israeli quartet of Ben Barak, Cohen, Grutin and Shecht. They fell further behind (56-41) before Saara Väre fired in a trey for Finland. The game became rather scrappy and Israel started to lose their way. Väre and Kesänen reduced the Finnish deficit by the end of the third period (51-60). They managed this without the inside presence of Laura Saarinen who had taken an unintentional blow that winded her. Afterwards the game became rather technical and both sides continued to make errors. Finland tried everything they knew to bring the score down. With three minutes left to play Finland trailed by 10 points (57-67). The closing minutes were scrappy from both sides. However Cohen's control of the situation and good shooting from the foul line allowed Israel to hold off Finland. Israel won (75-66) as player after player from Finland fouled out.

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

U18 youth international basketball 2009 audio after match comments  Avigiel Cohen  © Yossi Dos-Santos

Avigiel Cohen is playing in her fourth European Championship and is one of the most experienced players in youth international basketball from the 1992 generations in Israel. She explained that the qualifications for the semi-final was what they had dreamed about before the start. All the players were happy that Israel were the hosts and that they had qualified for the semi-final. This experience would be amazing and they would like to go up do division A. Cohen knew about Finland's record from the 2009 U16 European Championship and said that Finland were a great team. This was not the first time that Finland had qualified for the semi-final. Yet Israel played well as a team and they just did it, they won.

Lars Ekström, the Finnish head coach, was disappointed by the end result but explained as a coach his job was to make the players comfortable and put them in the positions on the court to score.

He could not explain why at certain moments shots went in and others not.

However he did not think that his players were nervous, maybe at times they went for the complicated root when a simple pick and roll would have done the job. But in the end they had to face Israel and they were a good team.

Edny Dagan explained that Israel was the only teem that had four players on their roster that could turn a game around. He did not even have to call a time-out because of the confidence he had in them.

He was speaking about Shira Ben Barak, Avigiel Cohen, Hadar Gutin and Shira Shecht.

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 Slovenia celebration - all together now 123   © © Eli Stern IT Sports

Slovenia showed no mercy to Bosnia

Back to back three-pointers from Polona Zalar and Slovenia were on their way.

 Nika Baric on the run against Bosnia © Eli Stern IT SportsBy the time Nika Baric (right) and Tjasa Gortnar opened their accounts Slovenia led (12-1) with just four minutes played.

Bosnia started a mini-revival with a trey from Natasa Kajtaz.

Although Slovenia kept Matea Tavic closely guarded throughout the first period Bosnia were well served with Kajtaz who traded three-pointers with Baric.

Slovenia led despite the 9 points from Baric (23-15) by the end of the first period.

They continued their festival from beyond the arc as they moved 10 points clear (29-19) with 13 minutes played.

Further connecting from far allowed Slovenia to extend the lead by the interval (44-26).

Bosnia disappeared after the interval and it was one way traffic with Slovenia going into the final period leading (61-38).

The final period was played out with Slovenia winning (81-60).

Youth international basketball news from Division A

quarter-final pairing known

France and Spain Remain undefeated

France in pole position for qualification round

France already in Qualification round

Division B news

Finland, Greece and Portugal in last 8

Germany and Slovenia qualify quarter-final

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 basketball picture credits:

Yossi Dos-Santos
Eli Stern

Date created: 10 July 2009

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