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Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ came back with gold medals from Minsk, Belarus

Thursday, June 14, 2018

March 9 – 12, 2018 Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ (boys born in 2005, coach Šarūnas Zablockis) participated in the international youth basketball tournament in Minsk, Belarus. There were twelve teams from Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and Ukrain participating in this tournament. 

„Everything started with long and  tiring journey, - said player of Tornado KM – “Alburnus” Lukas Užpalevičius. – The first game we had to play with Russian Oskol team, and came on court straight from the bus. At the beginning of the match everything went well. We lead for a long time, but at the last quarter opponents found  some mistakes in our defence and won the game in 2 points after overtime. After such a  terrible defeat all the team decided to win all the remaining games and defend the name of champions”.

“The first opponents from Russia were very strong – both in height and in physique they were better. So, to play against such a team was very uncomfortable, - said coach of the team Šarūnas ZablockisWe took a rest for a few hours after first game and then had to play with team from Grodno. Second defeat in a row would mean, that we loose opportunity to play for medals. So, after a team meeting, boys were very concentrated and played really well, especially in defence. There were were still a bit lack of assurance in offence, but it was enough to win the victory. Next day we started tournament playing against Valmiera (Latvia) team. Thery were winners of group B, so were considered to be favorites of our couple. We started this match playing well in defence and finally, in the second half of game, our three-point shooter woke up. At the end of game players relaxed a little, but, despite this fact, we won the match. In my opinion, after that game, players started to play smarter – we adapted to different style of basketball and referees. After that, we had a semifinal. Opponent – team from Sankt Petersburg. They had few highly expressed leaders in the team, so we’ve concentrated how to defend these players and ir worked. Ticket to the final game was in our hands. In the golden match, revenge against Oskol team was waiting for us. We’ve been watching few games of this team before final and it looks that will be difficult to win. However, we played the best game of tournament in final. There were only few mistakes in defence and we make them play different basketball than they usually play. After final siren, we celebrated golden victory with a score 44:36. I’m really happy with this tournament! Children have gained good experience and, I hope, it will be useful for remaiming season of MKL. We have improved not only in basketball, but also psychologically and have upgraded the atmosphere of our team".

The coach assistant Stefan Hendriks also went to Belarus with team. It was  a first time for this Dutch in such and “exotic” country, so he came back home with lots of excitement. “Trip was great, - said S. Hendriks. – Country was really different from all other I’ve been visiting before and it was really exciting. Talking about basketball, rules were also different comparing to Lithuania – they let players use double – defence, use screens, stay in the paint as long as they want. First game was something like adaptation for our players, that’s why we lost. As Šarūnas mentioned, later we had a meeting, discussed some significant points and kids start to play smarter. We grew up as a team!

Player of Tornado KM – „Alburnus” Jokūbas Riškus became tournament MVP and his teammate Lukas Užpalevičius was awarded as one of symbolic five players.

Results of tournament: 

Team A Result Team B
Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ 57:59 Oskol (RUS)
J. Riškus 15 tšk., M. Mažeika 13 tšk., E. Baltrimavičius 8 tšk.
Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ 48:27 Grodno (BLR)
M. Mažeika 13 tšk., E. Baltrimavičius 11 tšk.
Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ 53:48 Valmiera BSS (LAT)
J. Riškus 19 tšk., L. Užpalevičius 15 tšk., M. Mažeika 12 tšk., A. Asauskas 8 tšk.
Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ 57:41 Sankt Peterburg (RUS)
J. Riškus 16 tšk., M. Mažeika 9 tšk., E. Baltrimavičius 7 tšk.
Tornado KM – „Alburnus“ 44:36 Oskol (RUS)
M. Mažeika 14 tšk., A. Čepukaitis 9 tšk.
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