U18 MEN DIVISION B
|Radovan Kouril and the Czech Republic are just one win away from Division A|
Czech Republic ended the unbeaten run of England at the U18 European Championship Men Division B tournament in Sarajevo to make sure of their place in the semi-finals.
The Czechs secured second place with a 63-55 win, clawing their way back from an early 15-4 deficit and then hanging on at the close after Luke Nelson's lay-up got England back to within four, 56-52, with 3:26 to go.
Karel Ausprunk led the Czechs with 17 points and six rebounds, while Radovan Kouril added 16 points and seven assists.
Nelson had 17 points for England, while Lucas Stivrins had 12 and Rowell Graham added 11 and nine boards.
The Czechs win meant that Israel's 73-47 win over Estonia, inspired by 20 points and eight rebounds from Egor Koulechov, was not enough to see them through, ending up third in a three-team-tie with the English and Czechs.
Group F began the day as a four-way tie at 1-1, and it was Bosnia and Herzegovina and Finland who found a way to progress to the final four with victories.
Finland pulled away in the second half to top Belgium 86-74, snatching the lead on a Joonas Lehtoranta three-pointer in the middle of an 8-0 run half way through the third quarter, and pulling
|Jusuf Nurkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina hugs Montenegro's Nikola Zizic after a hard fought game that meant qualification for the semi-finals for the winner |
Lehtoranta finished with 27 points, and Julius Rajala added 22.
The Bosnians used a big first half to set up an 82-72 win over Montenegro.
Adin Vrabac poured in 27 points and Nedim Buza added 21.
In the qualfication rounds, Portugal edged out Iceland 77-75 in overtime - clinching it with a last-gasp basket from Pedro Bastos - to top Group H.
The Netherlands earlier beat Sweden 79-76 in another close one - sealed by Maarten Bouwknecht's free throws in the final seconds - to secure second place.
Austria kept up the fight for ninth place, edging out neighbours Hungary 71-69 to sit top of Group G with a 3-0 record.
But Hungary will still advance with Austria.
Slovak Republic were 64-55 victors over Romania.
Further down the latter, Belarus beat Luxembourg 89-87 to sit top of Group I in the battle for 17th place, with Georgia topping Group J after a 91-66 win over Norway.