Promotion day at the U18 youth international basketball competition in Skopje

Slovenia fall to BelgiumThe FIBA Europe U18 youth international basketball competition in Skopje reached promotion day. Unlike Division A the semi-final is the most important match for the participants in the U18 European Championship Women as the winners are promoted to Division A.

We covered both semi-finals live. Additional information to the live feed was provided on our blog feature during the game.

In addition to the semi-final the following games were covered, too:

Estonia 63-61 Hungary
Netherlands 72 -69 Germany

The semi-finals:
Slovenia 70-81 Belgium
Latvia 68-46 Greece

Audio comments will be found after the match reports from Latvia-Greece, Estonia-Hungary and The Netherlands-Germany.

Latvia confirming status as pre-tournament favourite

Latvia are looking up Latvia controlled the first few minutes of the game and scored the first 6 points, with only 2 points coming from the field (6-0). Antigoni Chairistanidou opened the account for Greece. With Ioanni Deila scoring a three-pointer it appeared that Greece were going to make a game of it (5-8).
However Latvia went back to basics and scored 10 straight points to end the first quarter with a 10-point lead (18-8). The second period was very dull as Latvia seemed to operate in cruise control for the first four minutes and extended their advantage (25-10). Greece then started to attack the Latvian zone with more purpose which made the game more interesting. Sabine Niedola dominated the scoring for Latvia with 16-of-19 points as her side went into the interval leading (37-23). The third period was rather defensive. Greece - no matter how they tried - were unable to penetrate the Latvian defence. The only points for the game came from the free-throw line. Latvia were doing no better as they only scored once from open play (44-30). Anete Steinberga was called into action but only scored for Latvia from the free-throw line in the last couple of minutes of the third quarter. With 5.6 seconds to go Ioanni Deila connected with a shot from the land of many for Greece to record their only points from the field for this period (33-46). Latvia are looking upLatvia came out for the final quarter with their opening line-up. However it took them almost two minutes before Anete Klintsone scored for them. In the meantime Deila fouled out although the Greek bench thought she was on three fouls. They had not noticed that one of the lights were not working. Ieva Krestina followed this up with a trey for Latvia to go on a run. By the time Steinberga completed a 3-point play (54-36) the game was over as a contest, with almost seven minutes left to play. Latvia went on to win (68-46) and win promotion back to Division A in this age group. Niedola led the scoring with 18 points. She also had 12 rebounds. She was joined by Steinberga who also finished with a double-double wiith 15 points and 18 rebounds. For Greece only Aikaterini Kontali finished in double digits with 13 points. Sabine Niedola explained that they worked for this one game all summer and that they are all feeling wonderful.

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Belgium going up to Division A after beating Slovenia

Belgium 18 are back in Division A

As expected Noémie Mayombo was given the initial task of watching Nika Baric. The battle between the two players worked in favour of Slovenia at the start as Tjasa Gortnar was left free to score the first points of the game.

Slovenia dominated the opening and went (11-5) up after a Belgium three-point attempt fell short. Furthermore the rebound was picked up by Teja Oblak who fed the ball out to Ines Kerin who passed it on to Baric. Mayombo had to leave the court after picking up two fouls. Nika looking for a way through

Then Arvid Diels, the Belgium head coach, called for a time-out. The result came immediately as Lien Lentacker hit a trey from the wing, following this up with lay-up finish.

Belgium was on a run as first Anne-Sophie Strubbe and then Kim Mestdagh hit a three-pointer. If that was not enough for Slovenia Miete Celus stripped the ball of Baric at the half-way line and had a free run to the basket (18-11).

It was then the turn of the Slovenian head coach, Damir Grgic to call for a time-out. Belgium continued to press and move the ball around the Slovenian perimeter.

By the time the ball reached the hand of Celus, there was only one result: She hit the baseline jumper three-pointer for Belgium to edge the first period (21-11) after her side scoring the last 16 points.

Oblak ended the 16-point run of Belgium with the first score of the second quarter. She also scored the next basket. However Mestdagh was on hand to hit another three-pointer for Belgium to maintain their advantage.

Noémie MayomboMayombo returned to the fray as the contest heated up. Slovenia started to shoot the ball more and closed the gap rapidly (22-28). Diels called for a time-out. Yet nothing changed as Slovenia came to within 1 point off a Kerin shot from the land of many.

While the spectators were celebrating the Slovenian three-pointer Belgium were down the other end for Mayombo to score. Then it was now end to end basketball as both coaches tried to gain the upper hand.

Belgium was still leading (32-29). It was the turn again of Slovenia to use a time-out.

The battle continued but the pace dropped. Mayombo picked up foul number three and had to leave the court. Celus took over the duties of watching Baric and once again she managed to steel the ball off Baric.

Belgium, more disciplined in defence, held on with Jana Raman coming up with a block on Oblak as half time approached.

Belgium went into the locker room leading (43-37).

The two sides continued to battle away. Belgium took the patient approach in their build-up to extend their lead to more than 10 points as Mayombo walked into the paint and buried a shot without even jumping.

Kerin, 	Lea Jagodic, Gortnar and 	Lea JagodicSlovenia were forced to chase the game and left holes in their defence. Despite Gortnar burying a three-pointer, Belgium hit back with a couple of fast breaks (58-45).

Slovenia then had no choice but to go for three-point plays: Polona Zalar hit one from the land of many from the corner to close the scoring in the third period (50-62).

Belgium continued to hit Slovenia on the fast break and scored 7 consecutive points to consolidate their lead (69-50). Slovenia never really recovered from this. Belgium had the advantage and went on to win (80-71).

For Belgium in double figures were Mestdagh with 21, Raman with 18 and Mayombo with 16 and Lentacker with 12 points.

Slovenia's Baric put in 30 and Gortnar 14 points.

Estonia will play for fifth

Estonia U18 - Hungary U18Hungary opened the scoring and held the lead for the whole of the first quarter. In a slow-paced first period Hungary led (5-1) with all the points coming from the free-throw line. The first points from open play came from Kerli Haas after almost six minutes of play. This sparked a late flourish of points by both sides with Hungary holding the advantage (11-9) going into the second period. The first five minutes were played in the same way than the ones of the first quarter with very little action and Hungary staying ahead (17-14). Triin MittAll of a sudden the pace and quality of the game went up a notch. In a space of 70 seconds Estonia had turned things around. Triin Mitt (right) scored her first points of the game for Estonia. Afterwards Haas tied the game as she split a pair of free-throws (17-17). Mitt then put Estonia in front for the first time in the game (19-17). Not even a Hungarian time-out could stop Estonia as they extended their lead (22-17) as they went 3-of-4 from the free-throw line to complete an 8-0 run. Hungary were to draw level (22-22) through Krisztina Raksanyi. But Triin Teppo was to have the last word as Estonia went into the locker room leading (26-24). Anastasia PtitsonaAnastasia Ptitsona (left) for Estonia opened the scoring in the second half with her second trey of he match. Both teams stepped up another level with Hungary gaining the upper hand with 6 quick points to take the lead (30-29). Although scoring was becoming difficult, the Estonian's suffered more offensively as the Hungarians applied a suffocating player-on-player system. Dorottya Tamis hit a shot from behind the three-point mark to keep Hungary in the lead (37-35).
The teams traded basket for basket for the rest of the period with Kerttu Jallai taking both sides into the final period level (41-41) as she found herself at the end of a fast break. The two sides continued to trade basket for basket for the first four minutes of the final period (48-48). Estonia then opened the first gap of significance in this game (55-49) before Raksanyi made it a 3-point game with a three-point play (2+1). Haas was to hit her second trey of the evening to give Estonia a little breathing space (58-52). The sides exchanged scores and with the game in the last 10 seconds Estonia led (62-59). The Hungarian coach called for a time-out to draw up a game-saving play. But Jallai split the pair of free-throws and despite Noemi Ruppert’s last effort for Hungary there was no more time and Estonia will now play for fifth place. ReetRausbergYou may listen to the comments of the Estonian coach, Reet Rausberg (left), on the youth international basketball competition in Skopje. She explained that all the games were tough because of the heat in the halls. However she is satisfied with the way they finished the games.

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The Netherlands' victory

Netherlands U18 The two teams did not waste any time after the tip-off. Germany struck first with a couple of basket. But then they left themselves open for Natalie van den Adel to hit one from beyond the arc. Jenni Menz responded a minute later for Germany also from the land of many (7-3). The two teams then scored frequently as they chased one another around the court. Marianne van den Hoek brought the teams level (14-14). Chatilla van Grinsven was to give The Netherlands the lead. But her best action came after Maaike Klein's three-point shoot bounced back: She used a volley-ball trick to flip the ball back in the basket (21-15). Stephanie Wagner closed the scoring in the first period for Germany with her side trailing (17-21). Germany HollandThe cat and mouse game between the two sides came to play in the second quarter as Germany made up their deficit and tied the game (27-27) through Mara Greunke. Karen van der Nieuwendijk from Holland made frequent trips to the foul line, which stopped Germany from pulling away. Hence the Dutch side remained in front (38-35). Rainer Chromik, the German head coach, continued to turn his bench. He was rewarded as Danina Skrobek fired a difficult three-pointer into the basket. 20 seconds later Emina Karic gave Germany the lead (40-38) which they took into the locker room. The Netherlands were back on level terms as Nieuwendijk bombarded the German defence all through the third period. However Germany's fast breaks and good transition kept the game tight as the teams went into fourth quarter all square (50-50). Things did not start well for Chromik’s team at the start of the final quarter as he picked up a technical foul for his running battle in the officials. Skrobek turned the match in Germany's favour as she scored back to back jump shots before hitting a trey (60-53) with five minutes to play. The Netherlands changed defensive systems, stopping Germany from making their penetrating runs into the paint. Meanwhile Germany had to find a solution of keeping the ball away from Nieuwendijk. The Dutch BenchThe Netherlands had other offensive options and were back on level terms (60-60) as Karin Kuijt managed to get into the German paint and score with about 75 seconds left to play. As so often in these close situations the ball failed to drop for either side. The coaches used up their time-outs. Neither team scored and the game went into overtime. Overtime was exciting end to end basketball with the yoyo swinging one way and then the other. Menz was dangerous for Germany but 1m93 Nieuwendijk was deadly for The Netherlands. With 1:42 to play Nieuwendijk put her side in front (69-67). She missed the free-throws. In the struggle that followed Menz picked up her fifth foul and had to leave the game. Van Grinsven split the pair to give the Dutch team a 3-point lead. Pia Mankertz was to foul out next. With that the game was gone and The Netherlands went on to win (72-69). Top scorers for The Netherlands were Nieuwendijk with 25 points, including 21 rebounds, and Van Grinsven with 16 points. For Germany in double figures were Menz with 19 points, followed by Skrobek with 16 points. Ria BröringAfter-match comments (in English and Dutch) from The Netherlands' head coach Ria Bröring. She explains in English about the consistency of the team and adds that she is proud of the team. She also speaks in Dutch about the performance against Germany and how happy she is with all her players. English Audio

Dutch Audio

Karen van der NieuwendijkKaren van der Nieuwendijk speaks in English about the team spirit and the help from the bench. She also adds in Dutch that she thanks all the people in The Netherlands for following them and that she hopes that they can win the fifth place match.

English Audio

Dutch Audio

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More youth international basketball from Skopje

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 7

Youth international basketball qualifying preview: Eight nations fight it out for promotion

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 6

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 5

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 4

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 3

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 2

Youth international basketball news from the U18 European Championship Women Division B - Day 1

Read about the Youth International Basketball Division B - Skopje preview

Return from Youth International Basketball news to "What's New" page

Return from U18 European Championship Women Division B Basketball news to youth international basketball index

Date created: 14 August 2008

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