The Israel Under-20 National Basketball Team’s European Championship dream run ended with a 89-79 overtime loss to France in the final as they come away with the silver medal. Both teams went neck and neck throughout the 45 minutes of play as Noam Yaacov and Danny Wolf paced the blue-and-white, while Maxime Raynaud and Illias Kamardine did the same for Les Bleus. However, it was the French duo who outscored Elad Hasin’s squad in the extra session to take the title.
Yaacov scored 31 points and Wolf added 17 points and 16 rebounds and were named to the Team of the Tournament. Raynaud with 26 points and Kamardine with 23 points paced France in the win.
“I’m disappointed as we are so close, one possession, one shot, but I am so proud,” head coach Elad Hasin said. “To come into this situation against a French team that won their games by so many points, these guys played for an entire country and gave it their all with a huge heart. The guys are crying and are disappointed but they also know how well they played to get to this point. When we got to overtime we just didn’t have much energy and great players make great plays. We just had an incredible tournament.”
Israel came out firing on all cylinders as Noam Yaacov, Ron Zipper and Yuval Levin all scored early, Maxime Raynaud and Nathan De Sousa countered for France but Yaacov scored from the inside and outside for a 13-point period to give the blue-and-white a 26-17 lead after ten minutes of play.
Raynaud found points in the paint while Noah Balanga and Ugo Doumbia went from deep to quickly put Les Bleus in the lead, Yaacov came right back with an off balance triple, Danny Wolf put in points and Levin went from downtown, but Ilias Kamardine and Adama-Alpha Bal gave France a 47-44 advantage at halftime.
Kamardine took the game right to Israel to begin the third quarter with a floater in the lane and a dunk and Raynaud hit a hook shot, Wolf and Yaacov scored as well, but Raynaud kept scoring points a plenty and kept France in front 61-57 after thirty minutes of action.
Bal dialed up from long distance to start off the fourth quarter and Kamardine scored, Yaacov responded with two buckets and Ariel Isaak drilled home a 3-pointer, Yaacov hit a trio of free throws and Wolf scored to give Elad Hasin’s team the lead but Lucas Dufeal’s basket tied the score up at 70-70 with under two minutes left in regulation time. Kamardine hit a floater, Yaacov thread the needle to Wolf under the bucket to tie the game up but missed his free throw as the game headed to overtime.
Raynaud and Yaacov traded baskets to begin the extra session then Raynaud and Zipper each went from beyond the arc with 3-pointers but back-to-back triples Kamardine and another one by Raynaud plus a dunk punctuated the victory to give France the title.