Greece overcame six other countries to win the ninth European Championship Division C, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, last week.
Over the course of five days, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, and Portugal all battled it out on the court in a bid for silverware and promotion to Division B.
Split across two pools, Portugal went undefeated in the prelim stage to finish top of pool A, followed by Czech Republic in second, whose only loss came at the hands of Portugal. Hosts Bulgaria produced a magnificent win in their first ever game on the international stage to eventually finish third above Hungary in fourth.
It was not so clear cut in pool B with the round robin concluding in a three-way tie, with all teams on one win and one loss. Thanks to a better points difference, Greece and Serbia made their way through to the semi-finals, meaning Ireland had to play for a consolation place of 5-7.
Ireland picked themselves up from the disappointment of losing out on a semi-final place to beat Hungary 51 -11 in their 5-7 crossover game, leaving Hungary finishing in seventh place. By finishing third in pool A, Bulgaria had a bye to the 5th/6th placing game, but Ireland continued their winning ways, seeing off the home side 61-38 to finish fifth, Bulgaria sixth.
The semi-finalists were not only playing for a place in the gold medal game, but also promotion to Division B, with the two winning teams from the semi’s gaining promotion to Division B.
Greece inched into final with a four-point win over Portugal, 61-57, despite an gutsy comeback by Portugal who fought back from a 16-point deficit midway through the third to ensure a nail-biting end to the game.
In the other semi-final, Serbia held off a Czech Republic fight-back to win 65-58 and gain promotion to Division B for the first time in their history.
In the gold medal game, Greece, led by a double double from captain Georgios Makris, defeated Serbia, 54-44. Portugal beat Czech Republic 68-56 to claim the bronze medal.
Serbia’s Elvis Fakić (3.0) and Boban Stanković (2.0), Czech Republic’s Miroslav Šperk (2.5), Ireland’s Edward Matthew Rollston (3.5), and Portugal’s João Correia (2.5) were nominated in the All-Star Five of the tournament. (pictured from left to right)
This tournament’s All-Star Five selection consisted of the coaches from each team nominating their players of the tournament, with the number of votes for each player being accumulated by the Technical Delegate of the competition, thus forming the All-Star Five which added up to a maximum of 14 points.
- Czech Republic
Imagez courtesy of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation.