London BC Medelynas proved too deep and too strong for Team Solent Kestrels II as the Division Three Playoff Final finished 80-66.
Medelynas hadn’t enjoyed the best of fortune in recent big games, losing this season’s National Shield Final in February as well as last season’s Division 4 Playoff Final. They made up for those losses here though, putting together a complete performance to ease away from Solent. The ball movement on offence from Medelynas was slick throughout, highlighted by their 27-11 advantage in the assist column.
The MVP award went to Mantas Guzys after an impressive performance. Scoring a 17 points, Guzys added six rebounds, two assists and seven steals.
Medelynas’ team approach was evident early on as they enjoyed 7 assists on their 20 1st quarter points, leading by eight at the first change. Matt Davis (11 points, eight rebounds) was the main source of resistance for Solent with five points in Q1, but he’d find the BC defence a tough proposition the rest of the way to shoot 4/15 from the floor for the game.
Although Guzys collected the MVP award, Algirdas Jaras (18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists) can be delighted with his showing in Manchester. His double-double performance was aided significantly by 10 points personal in the 2nd quarter as Medelynas looked to push ahead. Solent wouldn’t go away though, with Bikram Rana scoring all 7 of his points in the frame. Leading 36-30 at the half, BC were in the driving seat.
S E N I O R F I N A L S. 🏆— NBL (@NBLengland) April 27, 2019
Nice play by @medelynas as the second half of the D3 Men’s Playoff Final gets started! #And1
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The opening five minutes of the 3rd quarter would prove pivotal. Medelynas scored the first 11 points of the 2nd half and Solent were made to wait until the clock showed 5:06 remaining to get their first basket. That run pushed the London lead to 15 and from there, Medelynas’ athleticism and depth came to the fore.
The main talking point of the final quarter was the play of Solent guard Ben Maranan (18 points, four rebounds, two assists) who caught fire to score 12 points, all from beyond the arc, as the Kestrels tried to play catch up. The burst couldn’t make a significant dent in the BC lead however as the difference between the two sides never dipped into single digits throughout the 2nd half.
London BC Medelynas Coach Andrej Golovin: “This has been a very big journey for us as a team, especially this year after losing the D4 Final last season, we’re delighted to be champions finally. We had a psychological thing in our head, losing two Finals in a row. We were coming here as the main team to win and I think that brings pressure. We played a really hard first two quarters and from there we cracked on, relaxed, the pressure was gone and we never stopped.”
Team Solent Kestrels II Coach Sylvain Donneaud: “We had a game plan, we knew we were relying a lot on our shooting ability and today they didn’t really go in, or go in at the right times. We made some at the end to get it back to 10 points, but it was too late. Medelynas are very physical and we knew we’d struggle to control the paint, and we did struggle and rotate and they have so many weapons offensively.”