Siauliai triumph after overtime thriller

SIAULIAI – The season finally reached its culmination in Siauliai, where the winners of the past two championships faced off for the 2014-2015 Champion’s trophy. Since Ventspils had won the first game by two points, Siauliai’s 88-80 (18-17; 14-21; 29-19; 13-15; 14-8) victory was just barely enough.

 

The game was opened with two easy baskets from both of the finalists, followed by a couple of improbable dunks. The tug of war continued throughout the remaining minutes and it was the home side ahead 18-17 after the first frame.

The Latvians managed to create some breathing room in the initial part of the second period, as they pushed ahead by five. Considering their two-point first game disadvantage, Siauliai were already facing a 7-point deficit. Just as soon as the home team spiked back, Ventspils once again set up a three-possession advantage.

The home side kept turning the ball over at the beginning of the second half and it resulted in Ventspils’ first double-digit lead. And just as the game seemed to be getting out of hand, Siauliai pinned the visitors down with a 13-2 run that ignited the crowd and brought back the tension into the game.

As we entered the final stage, it was already Siauliai with the aggregate lead. The home side, led by Rokas Giedraitis, continued their long-range supremacy and finally reached a palpable, seven-point lead. Nevertheless, nothing was yet written in stone and Ventspils had a couple more minutes to erase the small deficit.

That's exactly what they did and with a minute remaining, was all tied up on aggregate score. It all dragged down to the last possession, where Siauliai missed the chance to finish it all in 40 minutes.

The Lithuanians opened the overtime powerfully, dominating both offensively and defensively and pushed the advantage to 82-74 with three minutes on the clock. Ventspils made a run back, but Rokas Giedraitis put the final nail in the coffin with another three-point bomb.

Gintaras Leonavicius was chosen the finals series' MVP, as he led the team to their first trophy.