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Norway set up date with Malta in Final
SERRAVALLE (FIBA European Championship for Small Countries) – Norway will square off against Malta in Sunday’s gold medal game in San Marino, as both nations aim for their maiden title.
In Saturday’s first Semi-Final, Norway were caught sleeping in the opening frame, as opponents Ireland raced out to an early 9-point lead, that would remain at five at the closing of the quarter. However, Norway struck back with a vengeance in the second quarter, going on a 17-0 scoring run to end the half.
To the credit of the Irish, they staged an unlikely comeback, going within four points with under three minutes to play. But wayward shooting down the stretch proved costly as Norway held on 83-73, behind 29 points from Harald Frey. The last time Norway played in the Final was back in 1996, but they came away with silver.
They will go up against Malta, who previously played in the Final in 2014, but suffered a similar fate to the Norwegians. The Maltese arrived at this stage of the tournament with a one-sided 102-57 win over Gibraltar.
Having upset the hosts to make the last four, Gibraltar could not muster another big performance, as they were overpowered in paint 60-26, and on the defensive boards, 43-17. Kurt Cassar ended the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds, also offering up 6 assists.
Earlier in the day, in the battle for the minor positions, Andorra easily disposed off Moldova 97-43, setting up a duel with hosts San Marino for fifth spot. Hugo Schneider Bartolome paced the winners with 15 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.