Israel's U20 basketball team took care of Germany 75-64 on Thursday to advance to the FIBA Under-20 European Championship semifinals in Heraklion, Greece.
The young blue-and-white put in a well-balanced attack, with four players featuring in double-digits in the victory. Ron Zipper and Yuval Levin set the tone early for Elad Hasin’s squad and took some of the offensive burden off of Noam Yaacov and Danny Wolf, who had been handling the majority of the scoring at the tournament.
Next up for Israel will be the winner of the Belgium-vs-Lithuania quarterfinal contest on Saturday night while the finals and third-place game will take place on Sunday night at the Heraklion Arena, Dyo Aorakia.
On Thursday, Zipper led the way with 23 points, Levin added 18 points, while both Wolf (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Yaacov (13 points, 10 assists) each checked in with a double-double. Schroder scored 15 points to pace Germany in the loss.
Levin and Zipper got Israel on the board early on in the first quarter for Israel, but Sananda Fru and Alexander Richardson gave Germany a slim 17-16 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Yaacov and Wolf both started to get into the game as the second quarter got under way, but Jacob Ensminger and Benjamin Schroder both helped Germany keep pace. But Wolf hit a late triple as the clock ran down to hand the blue-and-white a 31-25 advantage at halftime.
Taking it game by game
Levin and Zipper began the third quarter just as they did the opening period as they quickly helped Elad Hasin’s team take control. Schroder and Fru tried to keep German close, but Yaacov and Wolf from deep and via dunks bumped up the lead to 56-41 after 30 minutes.
Ido Harel and Ofek Gol scored as the fourth quarter got started but Schroder and Maximilian Langenfeld started to cut into the lead. However, Zipper went from deep to put the finishing touches on the win.
"We did a good job and were very prepared for this game."- Elad Hasin
“In the morning before the game we looked at the video and the guys came in with everything they had. The ball went in and we enjoyed the final result. We will take it game by game and stay modest and we will do our best against whoever we will play against next.”
Zipper, the game’s MVP, added: “We’re very happy with the win but we are still in the middle of our mission. We will give it our all.”