Estonia's Pehka counts to 30 against the hosts; Israel and Czech Republic with big numbers
ORADEA (Romania) - Day 1 of the FIBA U18 European Championship, Division B provided no dramatic finishes, but there was no shortage of big individual and team games in Oradea, Romania on Friday.
The hosts got a rude awakening from Estonia, who had a simple game plan - give the ball to Ran Andre Pehka and enjoy the show. The point guard exploded for 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field, 5-of-5 from the charity stripe to lead Estonia to an 81-51 win over Romania.
Czech Republic were the first and the only team to reach triple digits on Friday. Coach Lubos Barton got points from all 12 of his guys in a 117-33 triumph over Luxembourg, with a day-high of 29 assists, coming from ten different players in the Czech lineup.
Their assist total was matched by Israel in a 93-46 victory against Norway. The country is still feeling the highs of winning the FIBA U20 European Championship, with the next mission being to qualify for the FIBA U18 European Championship, Division A next season. If they keep on dishing out 29 assists per game, the dream will become reality by the end of next week.
Top scorer of the day: Nobody came close to Pehka's outburst, but there were nine more guys with 20 or more points on the day, meaning we could have a fun battle for the top scorer of the tournament honors.
Top rebounder of the day: Guylain Mbemba grabbed 13 boards in just 18 minutes of work for Austria, but he could not prevent a 97-69 defeat to the hands of Sweden.
Top passer of the day: Yam Madar topped the assists chart at the recent FIBA U20 European Championship, but it seems that Israel have another passing gem in this generation, too. Itay Geva only took three shots in 20 minutes against Norway, but dished out 11 assists, finishing as the only man in double digits in assists on Game Day 1.
Top thief of the day: Rati Andronikashvili was dominating at the FIBA U20 European Championship, Division B just ten days ago, so it's not a surprise to see him put up big numbers in this age group, too. Georgia defeated Slovakia 80-45, Andonikashvili was a big reason why with 16 points, 7 assists and a day-high 6 steals. Felix Vlaminck had the same amount for Luxembourg against Czech Republic.
Top blocker of the day: Seeing Jonathan Levy's name here is somewhat expected, since he is a 6ft 8in (2.04m) tall center for Israel. But, also with 4 blocks on the day was Portugal's Diogo Vieira Soares, listed as a 6ft 4in (1.92m) tall point guard. He also had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to take Portugal to an 88-70 win over Belarus.