Montenegro on top, Slovak Republic claim promotion on a buzzer beater
SKOPJE (2016 FIBA U18 European Championship Division B) - Montenegro take top spot in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovak Republic break Hungarian hearts to win promotion to Division A.
Montenegro broke Ukraine's resistance with a 27-12 second quarter, going on to win the Final 83-72. The new champions controlled the boards, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds, compared to just seven for Ukraine in that department.
The ball was also moving better on Montenegrin offence. Ognjen Carapic dished out 13 assists by himself, while the whole Ukrainian team had just 12 assists. Carapic also had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, the Final being the crown of his amazing all-round performances at the Championship.
Carapic was selected the Most Valuable Player, as well as headlining the All-Star Five. Team-mate Milos Popovic was also in the all-tournament team, along with Bulgaria's Yordan Minchev, Mario Ihring from Slovak Republic and Dmytro Skapintsev of Ukraine.
Popovic celebrated his selection by leading Montenegro in the Final with 17 points, Ivan Corovic had 16 points and 7 rebounds, and Marko Simonovic was also in double figures with 13 points for the winners. For Ukraine, who are also back to Division A, Illya Tyrtyshnyk finished with a game-high 19 points.
The Third-Place game provided more drama. Krisztofer Durazi connected on a three-point play to give Hungary a 62-60 lead with just seven seconds remaining, but Slovak Republic found a heart-breaking answer on their final possession as Samir Hebibi hit a game-winning three to make it 63-62 and take Slovak Republic to Division A.
Hebibi was just 1-of-6 from long range prior to his final attempt and finished with eight points. Marek Dolezaj scored 19 points, Maros Zeliznak picked a perfect timing for his best game of the tournament as he had 14 points, and Mario Ihring channeled his inner Carapic with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.
Hungary fell apart in their final two games. They had been unbeaten before the Semi-Finals, but two straight losses left them without a place on the podium and without a ticket to elite division. Csaba Kucsora had 19 points in their last game.