Ezerskis' buzzer-beater wins it for Rapla

KEDAINIAI – In one of the most exciting matchups of the season Rapla managed to get back up from a 16-point deficit and take care of Nevezis 71-70 (10-16; 20-10; 15-15; 26-19) in buzzer-beating fashion on Tuesday evening.

 

Rapla now stand tall with a 3-0 record, while Nevezis sit in the gutters of Group C with three losses to their name.

For the first three minutes, the teams went neck to neck, as Rapla held a 7-6 lead. However, a 16-0 run by Nevezis turned the game around. The Lithuanians allowed merely three points in the last 7 minutes of the quarter and were safely ahead with a 26-10 lead.

The sight was teams traded places in the second quarter, but we saw more of the same – the teams traded blows for the first couple of minutes, before Rapla took initiative to get back in the game. The Estonians responded with a 12-3 run and at the end of the half were down by just six.

Nevezis were quick to regain the double-digit advantage. After seven consecutive points from the home team, they were once again ahead by 14. However, their success offensively soon ran out, as Rapla managed to keep their opponents scoreless for more than four minutes and entered the final quarter with a 6 point deficit.

Within a minute in the last quarter, the Lithuanians were up by 12, but Rapla was not about to give up. Persistence paid off, as the deficit quickly shrank to just five. Nevezis had trouble finding a basket and they already found themselves trailing by three points with just two minutes on the clock.

Five straight points from Nevezis once again pushed the home side ahead, 70-68. Janar Soo missed a go-ahead three-pointer with seven seconds remaining, but Rapla recovered the ball with an offensive team rebound. After a time-out play, Ernestas Ezerskis beat the buzzer with a game-winning three-pointer and Rapla celebrated their third victory in thrilling fashion – 71-70.

Kristers Zeidaks accounted for 19 of the team’s points and 9 rebounds. Rapla’s hero of the day, Ernestas Ezerskis, was impressive with 18 points, while Janar Soo chipped in with 13. Rait-Riivo Laane ended the game with 12.

Vaidotas Volkus was the go-to guy for Nevezis, as he scored 16 points and 7 assists before fouling out in just 22 minutes of playing time. Sarunas Kulevicius scored 12 points, while Aurimas Adomaitis had 11 before leaving the court due to foul trouble. Roderick Camphor finished the game with 10.