Ballon v Matt OFlaherty Chemist Titans Ballon 80 (42) (L Griskas 19, A Statkus 12, G Trakaustus 11) Matt O Flaherty Chemist Titans 78 (44) ( P Peldzius 29, WArchambaut 15, P Freeman 13) MVP; Audrius Stakus (Ballon)
Ballon were crowned Mens Division One champions having defeated Matt OFlaherty Chemist Titans in a breathtaking final. Ballon eventually secured the crown 80-78 after a nail-biting finale. It was unfortunate that someone had to lose this tie, both sets of supporters having been treated to a tremendous exhibition of basketball.
A blistering opening to this one saw some superb shooting from both sides. Giedrius Trakauskas found his range early on, shooting a superb three for Ballon to bring the scores to eight apiece. Titans were well up for this contest however and Gintaras Sedebskis was integral in establishing a 14-10 lead for his side at the midway point in the quarter. Titans were certainly showing more steel in offense, exemplified by a 21-19 score at the end of the opening quarter. Ballon redoubled their efforts at the beginning of the second, Irmantas Griskas hitting three and drawing the foul to give his side a three point lead. It was a superb quarter in truth, with both sides tussling for supremacy in what was a hugely physical encounter. Paulius Peldzius helpedTitans stay in contention and soon afterwards gave them the lead with a fine three point shot.
The sides were level early in the third quarter as Imantas Griskas again weighed in for Ballon. The sides were so evenly matched throughout, it was impossible to pick a winner as the sides traded baskets throughout the third. It was Titans who held a marginal advantage heading into the final quarter, leading 63-61. The fourth quarter was a hugely passionate affair with both sets of fans noisily attempting to spur their side over the line. There was some splendid attacking talent on display, none more so than from Will Archambault who produced a breathtaking dunk to edge Titans in front.
Still there was nothing to separate the sides with just three minutes on the clock.71-71.Ballon were back in front with ninety seconds remaining thanks to a huge shot outside from Mazvydas Cepliauskas. A huge score from Conall MacMichael gave Titans a two point advantage with two remaining before Ballon responded, Aurimas Statkus hitting three for Ballon to give them a two point lead. With just 16 seconds remaining Paul Freeman made light of the pressure, superbly firing home to square the teams once again. With just seconds on the clock, Mazvydas Cepliauskus-the smallest player on the court- took advantage of space inside to drive to the basket for what turned out to be the decisive score. Titans had pulses racing with a shot on the buzzer, but it was to be Ballons day, albeit by the slenderest of margins. Final score 80-78.
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