IWBF European Championship C 2011 in Kaunas ( LTU )

After a very difficult start in this tournament, 3 teams had to withdraw by financial reasons, we played a double round with qualification games and then gold medal game and bronze medal game at the end .The tournament was very good organised by Anatolijus Cupkovas and his team. Thank you very much for a wonderful week and thank you Vytaute and Irena for all the help you give us.

In the first round the games were dominated by a very well playing team of LTUhuania, surprising also the Team of Ukraine. The team from Greece had no training sessions before coming to Kaunas, but from game to game we saw a progress in their play. In the second round the games become closer and after 8 games played the first ranking saw LTUhuania in front, second Ukraine , third Greece and fourth Latvia. On day 6 we saw four games. LTUhuania and Ukraine had to do their best to reach the final and to go up to B Division.

ALL STAR Team:
1.5 Dimitrijs Rukavisnikovs (LAT) Nr. 4
2.0 Kärlis Gabranovs (LAT) Nr. 15
3.5 Karolina Lingyte (LTU) Nr. 13
4.5 George Makris (GRE) Nr. 13
2.0 Apostolus Moumtzoglou (GRE) Nr. 6

Fair Play Cup: LITHUANIA
MVP : Vaidas Stravinskas (LTU)
Best Scorer: George Makris (GRE)

The Games:

Game 01 – LTU v LAT 68-31
The opening game of the tournament started nervously with both teams unable to ‘get in the groove.’ Gradually LTU pulled away and ended the half up 15 points. The 3rd period was critical and when LTU started to enjoy the game they scored 23 points but only conceded.

Game 02 – UKR v GRE 54 – 49
GRE was leading at the beginning. In the 1st half the Greece captain MAKRIS George made 17 of his 21 points. But UKR never gave up and could hold the Greece leading by 5 points at half time. The 3rd period showed a result of 7 – 8. But in the 4th period the top scorer of UKR YELYSHEV Kostyantyn made 9 of his 21 points. And in the last two minutes UKR changed the score and won the game with 54 – 49.

Game 03 – GRE v LTU 48-70
Both teams were playing their second games but still seemed very cautious. LTU had a 12 point lead at half timeand put on the pressure in the 3rd period adding a further 15 points to their lead but GRE continued to play hard and won the 4th quarter by 5 points. The game high pointers for LTU were Vaidas Stravinskas, Karolina Lingyte & Karolis Virkutis all with 17 points, while George Makins (16), Chrysovalantis Pappas (12) & Michel Stergiopoulos (11) replied for GRE.

Game 04 – LAT v UKR 36 – 56
UKR started better and leaded with 8 points. But Latvia never gave up and had a 6 point run. The result of the 1st quarter was 10:12. The second quarter showed that both teams fought face to face (22 – 23). Also the 3rd quarter was hard work for both teams and ended with the result of 34 – 37. But the team of Latvia now had foul trouble. The 4th quarter started with a run of the team of UKR. The UKR was too strong now for Latvia and won this quarter with 2 – 19. The top scorer of the team UKR YELYSHEV Kostantyn made 13 of his 27 points in this quarter.

Game 05 – GRE v LAT 62-71
Both teams scored freely and the lead was never more than 10 points. George Makins (28) who had the game high for GRE was supported by Michel Stergiopoulos (20), however Karlis Gabranovs (22), Kaspars Turks (20) and Agris Lasmans (10) did the damage for LAT.

Game 06 – LTU v UKR 77 – 37
After a nervous beginning the team of LTUhuania made one point after the other. They had a 23 – 0 point run in the 1st half. And the team of Ukraine never had a chance to come closer. Therefore in both teams all players were on the field. 4 LTUhuanian players scored more than 10 points, only one player of the team of Ukraine scored 10 points.

Game 07 – UKR v GRE 42-69
This was a very competitive and physical game in which GRE took the lead and always stayed in front. The game high came from Kostyantyn Yelyshev (21) who was the only player in his team to hit double figures. Apostolos Moumtzoglou (20), Michel Stergiopoulos (19) and George Makins (18) took GRE to the win.

Game 08 – LAT v LTU 39 – 69
LTUhuanian team was too strong for Latvia all over the game. Only at the beginning of the game Latvia fought face to face. But then LTUhuania scored point after point and won this game with 39 – 61. Three players of the LTUhuanian team scored 10 points and more (Vaidas STRAVINSKAS 21, Karolina LIGYTE 13, Karolis VIRKUTIS 10). On the other side Karlis GABRANOVS made 13 points.

Game 09 – LTU v GRE 71-60
The 1st half was very competitive with GRE having a 3 point advantage at the half. LTU however steamed the 2nd half and cruised to the win. Michel Stergiopoulos (23) had the game high supported as usual by George Makins (22) and Apostolos Moumtzoglou (13), but Vaidas Stravinskas (20), Saulius Kuboka (18), Karolina Lingyte (11) & Karolis Virkutis (10) continued their points scoring spree for LTU.

Game 10 – UKR v LAT 60-56
Competitive, physical, fast; this was the game from which you could not walk away. The score remained close throughout but UKR had the strength to push at the end for the win. Mykita Naumov (23), Kostyantyn Yelyshev (15) and Valeri Gutsan (12) scored just too many for Agris Lasmans (19), Karlis Gabranovs (16) and Kaspars Turks (14).

Game 11 – LAT v GRE 53 – 66
The team of Greece began with a man to man defense. Latvia was surprised but answered after a few minutes and scored also. At this moment it was a very close game. No team leaded with more than 6 points in the 1st half. In the 2nd half Latvia could not stop the Greece player George MAKRIS who made 16 of his 23 points in this half.

Game 12 – LTU v UKR 42 – 45
Before the game started the ranking of this round was done. LTU was the 1st and UKR the 2nd. Both coaches gave the bench players the chance to play a full match. But who thought that this would be an uninteresting game was surprised. It was a very interesting and close game all the time. After a good begin of LTU with a leading UKR changed it and after the 2nd quarter the result was 20 -23. Then LTU changed the score with an 8 – 0 run and won the 3rd quarter. But the 4th quarter was very exiting. The spectators pushed the home team. But UKR could keep coolness an won this quarter and the game. Both coaches were satisfied with the performance of their “second team”.

Game 13 – LTU v LAT 67 – 54
LATVIA started with a 0 – 7 run. Then LTU scored 6 points. Both teams scored in the 1st quarter and the other team closed the score. At the begin of the 2nd quarter LTU had a 13 – 0 run and the scoreboard showed a result of 27 – 18. But LATVIA did not give up and closed the game. At the end of this quarter LTU was leading with 3 points. The 3rd quarter also showed an exciting game. Even the Latvian player Kärlis Gabranovs was fouled out after 4 minutes the LTUhuanian team could close the game to a result of 44 – 42. In the last quarter LATVIA tried to change the score. But LTUhuania was to strong an won this game.

Game 14 – GRE v UKR 56 – 67
GRE tried to surprise UKR with a man to man defense. But UKR was too fast and the defense was not effective. UKR leaded from the beginning. GRE never could stop the Ukraine player Kostyantin YELYSHEV who made 23 of his 33 points in the 1st half. UKR was too strong for GRE on this day. In the 2nd half GRE woke up and played better and won the 3rd period with 2 points. The last period UKR won with 1 point. The advance of the first half was high enough that UKR won this game.

Game 15 – UKR v LAT 50-49
This was the game of the tournament so far. UKR took P1 (19-8), LAT P2 (12-10) and P3 (17-10) inviting us to a very important last period into which UKR had a 2 point lead. Baskets were exchanged throughout this last period and with 48 seconds remaining LAT finally drew level for the first time since the start of the game. We all were looking at overtime but a foul with 2.1 seconds remaining put UKR on the free throw line. Naumov hit the 1st, missed the second but against 3 defenders secured the rebound and held the ball high until the game ended. Kostyantyn Yelyshev (18), Mykita Naumov (17), and Valeri Gutsan (11) did the damage for UKR whilst Kaspars Turks (16), Karlis Gabranovs (14) and Agris Lasmans (11) as usual put in the points for LAT.

Game 16 – GRE v LTU 54-84
LTU started at full speed and at the end of the 1st period were 24-12 ahead. GRE came back and tied P2 15-15, but LTU were now looking to the final game and cruised periods 3 & 4 to secure their place in the final. Apostolos Moumtzoglou (23) and George Makins (22) yet again scored most of the GRE points, but although Karolis Virkutis (18), Karolina Lingyte (13) and Edgaras Ciaplinskas (10) all scored well for LTU, Vaidas Stravinskas (33) had the game some of us can only dream of as he equalled the same points and efficiency as Kostyantyn Yelyshev did for UKR in the previous game; a tournament high of 33 points and also a tournament high efficiency of 43. Please be aware that the normal efficiency is between 20-30.

Game 17 – LAT – GRE 56-66
LAT started very quick in the game and had a run of 11 – 0 points. At this time the Greece team did not know how to stop the opponent. And after the 1st 10 minutes the score was 19 – 7. In the 2nd quarter the Greece team started a man to man defense. And now LAT team had no change to stop the top scorer of GREECE George MAKRIS who made 13 of his 17 points of the 1st half in this quarter. GREECE changed the score with a 15 – 0 run. Even the GREECE team continued with the man to man defense LATVIA came back to the game. The 4th quarter started with a LAT run and the score was 47 – 50. But then GREECE showed the better offense. GREECE scored with George MAKRIS who made at least 33 points. In the last 2 minutes LAT stopped the clock with fouls. But it was not possible to change the score and GREECE won this exciting game with 56 – 66.

Game 18 – THE FINAL LTU v UKR 60-41
Played 8, won 7, points scored 548, points conceded 368, home court, partisan crowd; what more do you need to fire up a team for a final game? The answer was not much as from the tip LTU were ‘on fire’; game high Karolina Lingyte (21) planted 3 x 3 pointers in the first quarter as LTU doubled the points UKR scored in the 1st half. By half time (40-20) the game was all but over. Kostyantyn Yelyshev (14) was the only UKR player to hit double figures but UKR did not give up and won the 3rd period by 3 points, however Vaidas Stravinskas (14) and Karolis Virkutis (11) backed up Lingyte and in the spirit of these championships, all players on the score sheet had court time.

IWBF Europe congratulate the national teams of Lithuania and Ukraine with the promotion to the Division B.
The Division B takes place in Lasko, Slovenia from 23 June till 01 July 2012.

Medal Games
Bronze Medal   Greece vs Latvia      66 – 56
Gold Medal    Lithuania vs Ukraine   60 – 41

All the results here.

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