Israel survive a thrilling finish to take their first gold, Czech Republic also promoted to Division A
ORADEA (Romania) - Czech Republic joined previously qualified Israel and Poland, as we have learned the names of all three passengers on the flight from Oradea to Division A next summer.
Poland and Israel knew their fate even before the title game, but the Final was no friendly encounter. Poland closed out the first half with some unreal three-pointers to pick up a lead as big as 46-29 late in the second quarter.
A close game between 🇵🇱 and 🇮🇱 in the #FIBAU18Europe Div. B Final...— FIBA (@FIBA) August 4, 2019
...aaaand it's gone.
Nothing you can do when you got @pzkosz
dropping 3️⃣s like THAT (wait for it)! 😱
📺 https://t.co/gmddWv3TUm pic.twitter.com/5JacCR9dxv
But Israel struck back with great vengeance and furious anger, boiling up for a 34-point third quarter to take a 65-62 lead before the last ten minutes of play. It was a do-or-die battle after that up until the point when Amit Aharoni knocked down both shots from the free throw line to make it a three-point game with 7.5 seconds to go.
Poland had a chance to force overtime as Kacper Gordon scored the first free throw with 2.5 to play, then intentionally missed the second one, but the rebound was deflected out of bounds as time expired, to give Israel an 81-79 win in the Final, and their first gold in the history of FIBA U18 European Championship, Division B.
Dori Sahar was the leading scorer of the gold medal game with 21 points, Noam Shimon Dovrat had 15, Yahel Melamed and Jonatan Levy combined for 23 off the bench for coach Oren Aharoni. Mateusz Kaszowski had 17 for Poland.
In the battle for the last promotion ticket, Czech Republic and North Macedonia played a classic game of runs, with both of them having 28-point quarters in the first half of their battle for third place on the podium. But Czech Republic scored 30 points in the third quarter to secure an advantage in a game that featured 20 lead changes.
North Macedonia could not come closer than -6 over the final quarter, and Czech Republic protected an 89-80 win to climb the podium and secure the last remaining ticket for Division A next summer. Michal Svojanovski was on target all game long, with 27 points on 6-of-10 shooting from long range, Matej Burda had 21, and David Bohm was also in double figures with 11 points for coach Lubos Barton.
While the top three nations celebrate promotion to Division A, we now also know the names of the three teams dropping to Division B next summer. Latvia, Netherlands and Finland finished in the last three places of the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019 which was held in Volos, Greece.