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Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland enter Podgorica Quarter-Finals with perfect record
PODGORICA (Montenegro) - Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Poland have reached the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019, Division B with a perfect record - and dreams of getting back to Division A.
Belgium took top honors in Group D with a 5-0 mark, including a 71-63 Game Day 2 victory over second-placed finishers Romania. Belgium’s Thijs De Ridder has been one of the best players of the tournament, averaging a double-double (16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds) as the team tries to get back to Division A for the first time since 2013. In the final eight, Belgium will face hosts Montenegro, who want to get back to Division A after being relegated last summer.
The hosts Montenegro suffered their first loss of the tournament on the final game day in losing 71-62 to Denmark, who have been one of the biggest surprises of the event with a 5-0 mark in Group C and hope to return to the Division A for the first time since 2014. The Danes' leader has been Gustav Knudsen, who is averaging 16.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.6 steals, including 15 points and 18 rebounds against Montenegro.
Denmark's Quarter-Finals opponent is Romania, who have a solid one-two punch of Stefan Grasu and Dan Sucala and hope to get back to Division A after playing their only summer there in 1987.
Netherlands, who dropped down from Division A with Montenegro last summer, went a perfect 5-0 in Group B with a trio of players averaging in double figures - Julian Dekker, Niek Van Der Plas and Nino Vrencken. Netherlands will be squaring off in the Quarter-Finals against Bulgaria, who took second place in Group A after losing to group winners Poland 80-74 on the final game day.
Bulgarian star Konstantin Kostadinov was limited to 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss to Poland and the team would love to make their return to Division A following their last appearance in 2011. Regardless, Bulgaria will be hosting the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2020 in Sofia.
Poland, whose last Division A appearance was in 2016, took first place in Group A with Jeremy Sochan having been Poland’s biggest weapon all tournament and he had 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the win over Bulgaria.
Next up for Poland is Czech Republic, who went 4-1 in Group B with only an 84-72 loss to Netherlands on the third game day. The Czechs, who last played in Division A in 2012, also have a trio of players averaging double figures with Matej Safarik, Matej Dana and Ondrej Svec.
The Quarter-Finals on Thursday August 15:
Netherlands v Belgium (13:45 CET)
Denmark v Romania (16:00 CET)
Poland v Czech Republic (18:15 CET)
Belgium v Montenegro (20:30 CET)