28 July, 2017
06 August
10 Robin Kivi (EST)
to read

Home side Estonia headline Friday's big winners

TALLINN (FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, Division B) - Estonia, Croatia and Netherlands were among the big winners on Day 1 of the FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, Division B in Tallinn, with 24 teams getting their promotion campaigns underway on Friday in the Estonian capital.

After demonstrating strong results throughout their preparations, tournament hosts Estonia carried over the momentum to their Group D opener against Switzerland, inscribing a 94-55 victory behind a 20-point game from Henri Drell.

Matthias Tass added 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals in limited playing time for the winners, while Laurent Zoccoletti collected a team-high 12 points for the Swiss team.

Belgium and Denmark also began the Group Phase with victories in Group D, defeating Ireland and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia respectively. The Belgians celebrated a 69-58 win, while Denmark triumphed 92-88.

Netherlands registered the biggest margin of victory of the day and set a hard-to-beat mark with an 110-55 blowout of Albania in Group A. Gijsbertus van Schaik and Stan van den Elzen posted 19 points apiece, as Ruben de Graaf finished the game with 15 points to his name.

Having given Sweden a small scare by hanging close up to the fourth quarter, Luxembourg ultimately crumbled to an 85-69 defeat, while Great Britain trumped Czech Republic with an 84-55 scoreline despite the fact that all 12 players got on the board for the Czechs.

One of the pre-tournament favorites in the race for a Division A spot, Croatia opened Group B play with an 82-50 statement victory over Hungary after being paced by Ivan Vrgoc and his 18-point and 7-rebound performance.

➡[U18] Uvjerljiva pobjeda naših juniora na #FIBAU18Europe protiv Mađarske 82:50😎 Bravo dečki! 🙌Tako se to radi☑

A post shared by Hrvatski košarkaški savez (@hks_cbf_) on

Sveinsson scored 19 points for Iceland, who nabbed a 92-79 win against Georgia, as Belarus demonstrated their superiority over Bulgaria by running away to a 90-75 victory after a strong finish to the fourth quarter.

In one of the few closely fought games, Israel outlasted Austria 85-80 in Group C, thanks in a large part to Yair Kravits, who notched down a tournament-high 18 rebounds, also adding 8 points and 8 assists.

Meanwhile, Poland and Portugal did not need any late-game heroics to get off to a victorious start, with the Poles taking care of business against Romania with a 77-58 win and Portugal handing Azerbaijan a 75-44 blow.