In first, Israel’s youth basketball team crowned European champions
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In first, Israel’s youth basketball team crowned European champions

Netanyahu hails ‘marvelous achievement’ as under-20 team wins 6 games in a row before topping previously undefeated Croatia 89-66 to clinch a historic title

Israel's national under-20 basketball team reacts to winning the FIBA European Championships for the first time on July 22, 2018. (Israel Basketball Association, courtesy)
Israel's national under-20 basketball team reacts to winning the FIBA European Championships for the first time on July 22, 2018. (Israel Basketball Association, courtesy)

Israel’s national under-20 basketball team took home the gold at the FIBA European Championships for the first time in the country’s history, after a 89-66 win over the previously undefeated Croatia.

After a disheartening loss in their opening game to host Germany earlier this month, the Israeli youth team won six games in a row to bring home the country’s first-ever gold medal at an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) event.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Yuval Zusman was the the games top scorer with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Team captain and Macaabi Raanana point guard Gil Beni also scored 17 points, while Hapoel Galillee’s Meron Roina added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Sports Minister Miri Regev all praised the team for the historic win.

HIGHLIGHTS

תקציר המשחק: גמר אליפות אירופה. ישראל 80 – קרואטיה 66

Posted by ‎איגוד הכדורסל בישראל‎ on Sunday, 22 July 2018

“To beat France and Croatia sounds like the World Cup,” Netanyayhu tweeted. “This is a marvelous achievement and we are all proud of you. I am waiting to meet you at my office in Jerusalem. Truly, congratulations!”

Rivlin thanked the “wonderful” players and coach Ariel Beit-Halahmi for “bringing us this great honor,” adding that “we are waiting to celebrate your victory here in Israel!”

“This is a historic achievement, you won this trophy for all of Israel and I am very proud of you,” Regev said in a statement according to Hebrew-language media reports. “You beat team after team, proving that you are truly worthy of being European Champions.”

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