The National Team of Slovenia Advanced to the Finals of the European Basketball Championship

The trainees of the Russian expert Igor Kokoshkov won the fifth consecutive victory. On Saturday, they are waiting for the decisive match against the National Team of Ukraine to fight for the first place in E Group.

Ljubljana. — The aim to get into the finals of the European Championship has been reached. Slovenia entered the final tournament of the European Basketball Championship 2017 a tour before the completion of the qualifying round, and can now feel confident before the final Saturday’s game in Ukraine. It more than convincingly (85:63) beat Bulgaria, which could provide strong resistance only during the first period.

The Slovenia’s path to the thirteenth consecutive entry into the continental basketball championship finals at first seemed thorny and difficult. The first ten minutes of the reporting match with the Bulgarians gave no cause for optimism, since the Slovenes were not successful. On top of that, the team’s head Goran Dragić temporarily left the game due to a sharpened pain in his knee. The coaches decided to give him a brief respite, fearing a recurrence of the old injury. The Slovenes were not successful in their counterattacking. Gašper Vidmar was the only one who managed to maintain a comfortable goal deficit with 8 out of 16 points. However, the other leaders of the national team (Klemen Prepelič, Edo Murić, Jaka Blažić, Alen Omić) failed to prove themselves properly.

The Slovenes managed to break the match during the second period and even the score (23:23) after the Goran Dragić’s successful throw. When the team head returned to the game, the Slovenes were able to seize the initiative. Their attacks at times resembled a boxer in the ring placing frantic blows, but not reaching the goal. The defense was able to play adequately during the first and second periods, but they were clearly lacking the ingenuity and skills of the attack line. None of the players with the reputation of goal scorers showed the expected ease and rhythm. One had a feeling that only an aggressive play in defense would give the desired result.

The Slovenes started the final game period being more focused and attuned to the fight than ever. At first, Klemen Prepelič made a successful three-pointer. The team’s head Goran Dragić was skilful in his coordination of the attacking strategy. A quick transition from defense to attack and the accuracy of shots made by the Slovenian basketball players resulted in Bulgaria’s losing 34 points during the first ten minutes of the last period. The Slovenes were able to improve their statistics in all categories. The statistics of three-pointers — 10 accurate shots against 6 made by the Bulgarians. The percentage of hits after two-pointers, which after the first period had reached 58.3%, increased up to 60.8%, and the jumps rate was 36:24 in favour of the Slovenes.