MANNHEIM, Germany – The German Under-18 national basketball team made some shots down the stretch that the U.S. couldn’t in a 64-59 semifinal victory Friday night in the 25th biennial Albert Schweitzer International Youth Tournament.
With the triumph, the German Under-18s moved into Saturday’s 4 p.m. title game against Australia. The U.S. will play the German Under-17 squad for the bronze medal at 2 p.m. at the Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena.
“It was a good, classic game, a real Friday-night fight,” U.S. coach Larry Krystkowiak said after the German U18s, who downed the Americans 76-66 in overtime in an April 1 exhibition game, defeated his team for the second time in eight days. The twin triumphs were the first ever over the U.S. for a German AST team.
“Neither team shot very well,” Krystkowiak said as he perused the post-game stat sheet. “It comes down to being like playing game of one-on-one. You can play good defense and still lose.”
Good defense was the order of the day on Friday. The Germans shot 31 percent from the floor and an abysmal 15 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The Americans shot 34 and 24 percent, respectively.
Fatigue also factored in, Krystkowiak said.
“I give (the Germans) credit,” he said, “but a lot of our guys have played a lot of minutes. We haven’t had any easy games where we could rest people. Some guys’ tanks were running on empty.”
U.S. scoring leader Ryan Boatright, a 6-0 junior point guard from East Aurora (Ill.) High School, seemed to be gassed in the early going. Boatright was averaging 20 points per game coming into Friday’s contest, but opened with four straight misses from the floor and two missed free throws after he played nearly 38 minutes Thursday.
“I thought he was tired,” Krystkowiak said. “I was going to take him out, but then he made a shot.”
The shot was a trey that cut Germany’s early 20-12 lead to 20-15. Boatright then added 16 more points before game’s end and found the energy to pull in 10 rebounds as well.
He ended the game driving to the rim to score eight points in the final 10 minutes.
“In some places, those are fouls,” Krystkowiak said of Boatright’s body-bumping floaters and lay-ups, “but we’ve discovered here that there can be plenty of contact.”
Damian Leonard of Greenville, S.C., added 10 points but endured a cold night with his specialty, the three-ball. He made just three-of-10.
Germany tied a game it had led 30-19 at one point 51-51 with 5:10 to go, then went on a 13-8 run the rest of the way. Its last five points came from the free-throw line. For the game, the Germans were 20-of-28 from the stripe; the U.S. was just 10-of-19.
The loss ensures that the Americans’ gold-medal drought in this event will continue for two more years. The U.S. has won this event a record 10 times, but hasn’t reached the title game since their last victory, in 1996.
That’s a job for the next team, however. This one just wants to win America’s first medal here since 2000.
“We’re excited to be playing for a medal,” said Dillon Wadsack of Ramstein, who handed out two assists and scored two points in his six-minute stint on Friday. “There are 12 other teams here which aren’t.”
Germany Under-18 64, U.S.A. 59
(Semifinal Friday at Mannheim)
U.S.A...........10 24 12 13—59
Germany U18..........17 19 12 16—64
Scoring—U.S.A.: Ryan Boatright 19, Damian Leonard 10, Andrew White 6, Joshua Henderson 5, Michael Chandler 4, Kevin Ware 4, Chris Manhertz 3, Farooq Muhammad 3, Royce Woolridge 3, Dillon Wadsack 2; Germany U18: Falko Theilig 13, Phillipp Neumann 11, Daniel Theis 8, Patrick Heck 7, Mathis Moenninghoff 7, Mario Blessing 6, Thomas Reuter 5, Lars Wendt 5, Bill Borekambi 2
Rebounding—U.S.A. 44 (12 offensive, 32 defensive) Boatright 10, Manhertz 10, Chandler 7; GermanyU18 47 (15 offensive, 32 defensive) Theis 10
Field-goal shooting—U.S.A. 22-of-59, 37 percent, 5-of-21 on 3-pointers, 24 percent. Germany U18 20-of-64, 31 percent, 4-of-27 3-pointers, 15 percent.
Free-throw shooting—U.S.A. 10-of-19, 53 percent; Germany U18 20-of-28 71 percent.