28 July, 2017
06 August
11 Ivaylo Tonev (BUL), 5 Jaydon Kayne Henry Mccalla (GBR)
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Great Britain survive Bulgarian scare; Croatia, Estonia and Israel cruise to the Semi-Finals

TALLINN (FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, Division B) - Great Britain almost let slip a fourth-quarter 15-point lead, but Oluwasesan Russell kept his cool from the line and Team GB joined the unbeaten trio of Croatia, Estonia and Israel in the Semi-Finals.

Even with all the late-game heroics by Russell that set the final score at 76-73, the man of the hour was Nelson Boachie-Yiadom. He steered the British ship throughout the meeting by scoring 21 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking 3 shots on the defensive end. Jaydon Kayne Henry McCalla was once again in double figures, scoring 13 points on a 5-of-15 shooting night, and Hosana Kitenge collected 10 points, the same as Russell.

Russell was sent to the line with 17 seconds left on the game clock. In his first two shots from the line, he stayed calm and secured a three-point lead. Ivaylo Tonev had a potential game-tying three-pointer, but it didn't go in, leaving the leading Bulgarian scorer at 23 points on the day.

Great Britain will now face Estonia in the Semi-Finals. The hosts trailed Poland for only 2:19 of the game, but still could not pull away to a safe lead in the fourth quarter. Kristian Kullamae scored the decisive bucket, giving Estonia a six-point advantage heading into the final minute of their 68-63 triumph.

Kullamae went all-round to gather in 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal, Hugo Erkmaa struggled from the outside, but still managed to put 15 points on the scoreboard. Adrian Bogucki and Dominik Wilczek were the only Polish players in double figures, combining for 20 points.

The other Semi-Final will see Croatia take on Israel. Croatia cruised through Group B and their stellar defense proved too much for the Netherlands in the third quarter, allowing them only 7 points. The Netherlands were trailing by only a point at the half, but Antonio Jordano and Toni Nakic connected on back-to-back three-pointers, and the Croats never looked back.

The final score was 65-54, Domagoj Saric had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, Luka Samanic controlled the inside with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks, while Jordano with 11 and Nakic with 10 were also double figure club members. Gijsbertus van Schaik hit five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points, not enough to see the Netherlands through to the final four.

The most impressive Quarter-Final performance was the one by Israel. The Group C winners led by as many as 35 points against Denmark, allowing coach Sharon Avrahami to use all 12 of his players, giving them at least 9 minutes on the court in a 78-55 victory.

Tomer Levinson used his minutes to perfection, ending the matchup with a game-high 17 points. Amit Ebo was the floor general with 15 points and 6 assists, Tomer Porat got a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in just 15 minutes. No Danish players were in double digits, Morten Bulow came the closest to that goal with 8 points.

Classification Games 17-24 saw the biggest individual battle. Ireland got 42 points on 16-of-30 shooting from the field from Sean Jenkins, but Austria took home an 88-83 win, largely thanks to a 30-point, 17-rebound double-double by Luka Brajkovic.