Do or die on Saturday
Safsal ,07/13/2006
The under-21 Israeli national team cut a 16-point 4th quarter deficit to 1 but couldn't complete the comeback and suffered a very disappointing 65-72 loss to the Czech Republic. Israel will face Finland on Saturday in a decisive game: the loser gets relegated to D2.

Czech Republic 72 - Israel 65
The Czech started the game on an 8-2 run and that was a preview of things to come. The 1st quarter ended with Israel down just 16-19, after the Czech scored at the buzzer.

Israel managed to stay in the game in the early part of the 2nd quarter despite shooting just 31.8% from the field while the Czech made 62.5% of their shots, mostly in the paint. Israel however was making the most of its free throws while the Czech struggled. With the game tied at 27 and 4 minutes left in the half, the Czech went on an 11-1 run to take a 38-28 lead to the locker room. Katia Abramzon led Israel with 9 points, Chen Nusel & Merav Dori combined to score 4 points on 2 for 12 shooting.

Israel started the 3rd with a 6-0 run but the momentum was short lived. The Czech led 54 - 43 at the end of the 3rd.

Two minutes into the 4th the lead reached 16 points. At the 6 minute mark the score was 59-45 as Israel didn't take advantage of the Czech's misses. With two minutes left in the game, Shiran Zairy's & Abramzon's baskets cut the lead to eight and forced the Czech to call timeout. Abramzon, the lone bright spot for Israel, scored to cuy it to 56-62. Free throws by Alterman & Dori made it a one possesion game, 60-63 with 90 seconds left. The teams traded baskets before the Czech hit one from the line to make it 66-62 with a minute left.

Israel called timeout to plan the next offense, without Dori who fouled out. Zairy found Alterman for a huge 3 that made it 65-66. The Czech made two free throws and Alterman missed her three this time. Israel couldn't get more points on the board and the Czech hit enough free throws to hold on.

For Israel:
Katia Abramzon 15 pts, 7 rebs
Shiran Zairy 12 pts, 6 ast
Chen Nusel 10 pts (8 in the 3rd)
Merav Dori 9 pts
Liel Ochanon & Shahar Alterman 8 pts each
Liron Asher 3 pts, 4 rebs

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