The Israel Under-18 National Basketball Team slipped by Lithuania 101-98 in their opening group stage game of the European Championships in Nis, Serbia. Head coach Sharon Avrahami’s squad featured five players in double digits and shot 40% from downtown to take the victory.
The young blue-and-white went down early to one of the tournament favorites but came back over the course of the second quarter thanks to Omer Mayer to head into half-time ahead 44-43. Shachar Doron and Ofri Naveh picked up the scoring in the third quarter while Ori Cohen and Alon Michaeli kept Israel in front for good over the final frame to notch the win.
Michaeli who was strong all game led the way with 20 points, Cohen and Mayer each scored 18 points, Doron added 17 points and Naveh checked in with 14 points in the win. Justas Stonkus scored 26 points, Mantas Juzenas added 20 points and Kasparas Jakucionis scored 19 points in the loss.
“We saw a national team that fought, showed heart and played with confidence,” Avrahami said. “Our style of play is to run and if our offense is stagnant we will have issues which is something that we worked on during our preparation. I have to check the last time we defeated Lithuania who beat us last year by 40-points. I’m very proud of the guys, but I am worried about Mayer who was injured near the end of the game.”
Next up for Israel is a date with France on Sunday at 19:00.