Youth international Basketball: Hungary and Slovenia promoted to Division A

Hungary's time in the youth international basketball second division at U18 level is over after beating Germany (72-70) in the first semi-final.

Damir Grgic, the Slovenian coach, has experienced semi-final defeat in 2007 and 2008, both at U16 and U18 level as head Coach.

Third time lucky for him and most of his squad as they overcame the hosts Israel (67-61) with 22 points and 7 assists coming from Nika Baric.

In the classification games played Portugal beat Greece (69-52) Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated Finland (73-54).

You can read our youth international basketball live game reports from the two semi-finals by clicking on the links or scrolling down the page:

Hungary 72-70 Germany

Israel 61-60 Slovenia

After match audio interviews from key players and coaches' comments to be found after the match report.

 Hungary back in Division A  © Eli Stern IT Sports

Hungary required overtime to beat Germany

A cautious start by the two teams resulted in just 2 points from the free-throw line for Hungary from Réka Bálint in the first three minutes of play. Germany had to change tactics quickly because Jenny Menz picked up 2 quick fouls. They finally got to the basket as Sonja Greinacher found a little space just outside the paint to score. Germany then stepped on the turbo with Finja Schaake finishing with a fast break. This was the start of a series of baskets from both sides with Germany gaining the upper hand with a trey from Svenja Brunckhorst to lead (15-10) with seven minutes played. Hungary changed tactics to finish the quarter with a 9-0 run with 6 straight points coming from Krisztina Raksányi. The other points came from free-throw shooting by Dorottya Tamis. Germany put a stop to the Hungarian advance. But it took almost two minutes before Schaake could find a way through the Hungarian wall to lay up. Bettina Baksa © Eli Stern IT SportsGermany continued to push and Greinacher used her height and strength for a nice turn-around jump shot. She also drew the foul for Germany to briefly regain the lead. A quick exchange of baskets saw the lead change hands three times in a space of 90 seconds. Hungary finally broke the sequence with Bettina Baksa on the end of a fast break. The Hungarians slowed the pace down and forced Germany into making little errors which enabled them to open the first significant lead of the game (35-26) with one minute remaining in the quarter. However Germany came back with a trey from Brunckhorst and a 24-second clock violation beater by Julia Gaudermann to reduce the lead of Hungary at the interval (35-31). The game changed after the interval with Hungary gaining the upper hand with exciting fast breaks to lead (43-33) with four minutes played. Alexandra Maerz was not amused and called for a time-out. What happened next is what youth international basketball at the stage of competition is all about. Sarah-MarieFrankenberger  © Eli Stern IT SportsSarah-Marie Frankenberger (right) fired in a shot from the top of the arc. This was quickly followed by Schaake scoring on the break. Germany continued to run and Gaudermann hit a running rainbow shot three-pointer. Hungary was in trouble and Judith Balogh, the Hungarian coach, called for a time-out with three minutes remaining. Hungary got their breath back with Bálint firing in a three-pointer. Hungary were back in control and went into the final period leading (50-45). The pace slowed down and Hungary moved 10 points clear (57-47) with 61/2 minutes left to play. Germany then started to chase after the score. With three minutes left to play Brunckhorst, with a three-point play (2 +1), brought Germany to within 2 points (57-59). Afterwards the game became scrappy. Both sides missed chances and with two minutes left to play the teams were tied (59-59) with a pair of Frankenberger free-throws. In almost the same position that Frankenberger had scored for Germany against Slovenia two years ago in the semi-final at U16 level, Schaake hit the same shot from the same position. Germany were in front (62-61). Alma Némeths © Eli Stern IT SportsThere was more drama but in the end the game went to overtime (63-63). Bálint and Raksányi did most of the damage at both ends of the court for Hungary to move ahead (70-65) with two minutes to play. For Germany Greinacher was all over the court and showed a quick turn of pace as she drove to the basket. The two teams were level once again through Schaake who hit another big three. Alma Némeths (left) for Hungary scored what turned out to be the last score from the free-throw line with 63 seconds left to play to lead (72-70). Germany had one last drive with four seconds left. Although not balanced Frankenberger got the shot off but hit the tip of the ring and the ball bounced out.

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

U18 youth international basketball 2009 audio after match comments Judith Balogh took charge of the U18 youth international basketball programme this season and is just happy to leave Division B.

 Réka Bálint (13) and   Krisztina Raksányi (5) give the thumps up © Womensbasketball-in-france

Réka Bálint (no. 13) spoke in Hungarian and Krisztina Raksányi (no. 5) provided the translation.

Bálint explained that they were happy for reaching the objective which was promotion back to division A.

She then added the gold medal was what they wanted next.

As for the game itself the team played well but things did not go well during the second half but as a team they pulled through together and won the match which was their goal.

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 Baric and Slovenia win promotion  © Womensbasketball-in-france

Third time lucky for Slovenia and coach Grgic

Inbal Yaary started for Israel and her job was to stick on Nika Baric. The first minute was tough for both sides. After a minute of play Baric opened the scoring with a trey. Yaary scored on the fast break seconds later. She then took the task of marking Baric to another level and picked up a foul after a lot of pushing and shoving. Yaary is not a lady to be intimidated and raced down the floor to score moments later. The pace went up and Tjasa Gortnar opened her account for Slovenia. Israel lost their captain who had to return to the bench after picking up 2 early fouls. But back to back baskets by Yarden Gutt and a couple of free-throws allowed Israel to open up a little lead (11-7). Slovenia like three-pointers and Bojana Duric did that from the wing to get Slovenia back into the game. Slovenia and Israel playing basketball in Eilat © Yossi Dos-Santos Israel were then on the back foot as Baric started to run the Slovenian show. With 90 seconds left to play in the quarter she floated a nice pass to Lea Jagodic in the paint to score for her side to go ahead (16-15). This was also the last score of the first quarter. Slovenia went to sleep at the start of the second period allowing Israel 4 easy points. Yet they were quickly back on level terms (19-19) after a three-point play by Sandra Japundza. Space became tight on the court and shooting became difficult. As a result a lot of time was spent on the free-throw line. The sequence of free-throws was broken by a three-pointer from Petra Peric for Slovenia (28-21). Slovenia were allowed to play their running game. They hit on the fast break and stretched their advantage (36-25) with 2 ½ minutes remaining in the quarter. Edny Dagen, the Israeli head coach, called for his first time-out. Shira Ben Barak and Hadar Gutin stepped up their game offensively with back to back scores. However this was as good as it got before the interval with Baric adding one free-throw to her tally of 12 points as Slovenia went into the interval leading (39-29). Israel looked more relaxed after the break and started to play with more ambition. All the same Gortnar opened the scoring for Slovenia from the free-throw line. Hadar Gutin playing basketball in Eilat for Isreal U18 © Yossi Dos-Santos Shecht returned to action for Israel and opened her account. Ben Berak and Gutin (right) once again made difficult shots and with just three minutes played, Damir Grgic called for a time-out despite leading (42-37). The game went up a level after the time-out as the three-pointers started to fly in from both teams. Baric was then on fire. She was involved in everything that Slovenia did. When she found Polona Zalar free from behind the arc, she had the time to settle and fired in her third trey of the game (57-43) with four minutes to play in the quarter. It was time for the Israeli head coach to call for a time-out. Israel were forced to take risks and became more aggressive in their approach. They scored 6 quick points with 4 points scoring from the free-throw line. This got the home fans on their feet. The game went up yet another level and like in some many youth international basketball matches the baskets became more and more spectacular as bodies went flying all over the floor. Slovenia went into the final period leading (58-51). Gortnar's work on the offensive boards won her a couple of free-throws as she opened the scoring in the final quarter for Slovenia. Slovenia then struggled to get anything going offensively while Israel worked in reducing the deficit. Slovenia started to feel the pressure and Israel were right back in the game. Then Jagodic decided to tap Avigiel Cohen after losing the ball for an intentional foul. Cohen hit the free-throws (57-60) to make it a 3-point game with five minutes to play. Slovenia's foul count was increasing but Israel were not scoring. Zalar scored Slovenia's first basket in almost seven minutes. But Yael Shafir concluded a Cohen's fast break seconds later.  worried about Nika Baric   © Womensbasketball-in-france Slovenia went into money-time leading (63-59). With 42 seconds left to play Baric went down and looked in pain. She got back to her feet but was finally taken off. Cohen scored an acrobatic basket for Israel and Baric returned with 28 seconds to play. Gortnar drew a foul and Baric left the court again as Gortnar went to the free-throw line. She hit both free-throws. Israel missed on the next attack and were forced to foul. Israel did not score again and Slovenia won the game (67-61).

Youth International Basketball Box Scores Box Scores.

U18 youth international basketball 2009 audio after match comments  Nika Baric © Eli Stern IT SportsDamir Grgic was very happy to finally win. He has been involved as a head coach with youth international basketball teams for three years and had lost twice in the semi-final. He first congratulated Israel for their performance and also the way they coped with the loss of a major player. He knew from the start of the youth international basketball season that the competition for promotion only started in the quarter-final and that the first objective was a place in the top 8. Once achieved then they needed to step up a level, like it was demonstrated in their quarter-final match which was their best match of the competition. The match against Israel was also good and the feeling was great.

 Nika Baric © Eli Stern IT SportsNika Baric (right) who first played youth international basketball when she was 12 and Tjasa Gortnar who is in her fourth season as a youth international basketball player are both delighted at the promotion.

Baric spoke first and explained that she had been waiting for this moment for six years and that she was so happy.

Gortnar explained that this was what the last four years had been about and that it was a dream come true.

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Youth international basketball news from Division A

The quarter-final pairing

France and Spain Remain undefeated

France in pole position for qualification round

France already in Qualification round

Division B news

Finland, Greece and Portugal join the 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 international basketball picture credits:
Eli Stern - IT Sports
Yossi Dos-Santos

Date created: 11 July 2009

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