U18 European Championships

U18 European Championships quarter-finals

U18 European ChampionshipsThe quarter-finals of the U18 European Championships have been locked after Wednesday’s games in Group E and F settled who will head to the next stage of the competition.

Group E

Croatia vs. Italy, 81-65
Croatia eased through the second half of this contest after Italy had stuck close during the first two quarters of the game. Indeed, the Italians led 36-39 at the midway point, but the Croatian players did not want to let their perfect record in Group E slip. A strong second half showing saw the team turn it on nearing the end of the third and put together an 18-0 run with stunning D. Marko Arapovic sunk 20 points as he paced Croatia to the win, while the team celebrated topping the group and progressing with an unblemished 5-0 record. Italy may have lost, but the team can console itself with qualification in second place with a 4-1 showing.

Latvia vs. France, 63-59
Latvia outlasted France down the stretch to advance into the quarter-finals of the U18 European Championships. It was a close encounter and the French had plenty of opportunities in the final stanza to snatch the win, including a missed dunk from Alpha Kaba with 41 seconds remaining. The Latvians hit 22 from 27 at the charity strip to grab plenty of free points, while they also looked better off the glass, out pacing France with 50 boards to 36. Latvia qualifies with a 3-2 record while the French miss out in fifth place with a losing 1-4 record.

Lithuania vs. Poland, 82-71
Lithuania rekindled the winning touch just in time to secure the last quarter-finals spot in Group E by downing a sorry Polish outfit. The Lithuanians were coming off a two game losing streak, but snapped it against a Poland team that sunk to the bottom of the group with a 0-5 losing record. It was a tight enough encounter as the 30 minute buzzer sounded, but in the final frame Lithuania found another gear thanks to a formidable performance from Domantas Sabonis. He recorded a double/double of 16 points and 15 rebounds, while he also added 3 assists and 2 blocks during the game.

Group F

Montenegro vs. Greece, 57-72
A slick first half from Greece was enough to hold off Montenegro and send the team into the U18 European Championships quarter-finals on a high. The Greeks secured a 10-17 first frame and a 17-24 second to hold a commanding 14 point lead at halftime. In the second half they shut up shop and saw out the victory. Greece had already qualified for the next stage and finished Group F with a 3-2 record in third place. Montengro ended in fifth with two wins and three losses.

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Spain, 67-84
Spain cruised into the next round of the competition with a comfortable win over struggling Bosnia and Herzegovina. The victory never looked in doubt as the Spanish only lost one quarter, while an explosive third stanza secured qualification. Victory was built on consistency from the field, with the winners hitting 46% of their shots into the net. Bosnia and Herzegovina kept trying to plunder from three point distance but looked out of touch, hitting just 5 from 25 attempts. Spain progress in 4th place despite a losing 2-3 record, qualifying due to a superior head to head over Montenegro.

Serbia vs. Turkey, 82-62
Both teams had already booked a place in the quarter-finals, but Serbia showed its credentials by crushing Turkey to top Group F with a 4-1 record. The Serbian youngsters rained destruction upon the Turkish defence in the opening quarter, pouring in 22 points and holding their opponents to just 6. That onslaught set a tone and the eventual winners held firm for the remaining three stanzas to secure the win. Turkey still progresses in second place with a 3-2 record.

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