Lietuvos Rytas claim revenge, win LKL final

Lietuvos Rytas' Igor Milošević (10) dribbles past his opponent toward the basket at Monday's game. Photo used courtesy of Lietuvos Rytas.

VILNIUS — Lietuvos Rytas have finally got one up on their arch rivals Žalgiris, defeating them in the final of the Lithuanian championship Monday.

To date it had been Žalgiris’ season, although it was arguably Lietuvos Rytas who were playing the better basketball throughout. Playing in Europe’s premier competition, Eurocup it was Žalgiris seen advancing to the second round, whilst Lietuvos Rytas, with their superior win loss ratio who were seen sent packing first, given that they played in a tougher pool.

Then returning to Baltic basketball, it was again Žalgiris getting one up over their arch rivals, defeating Lietuvos Rytas in the final of the Baltic Basketball League. It was a bitter result for Lietuvos Rytas, given that they had been playing almost in a league of their own for the entirety of the season.

Lietuvos Rytas teammates celebrate their victory after the game Monday. Photo used courtesty of Lietuvos Rytas.

So their last chance to secure something for the season came when they came up against Žalgiris in the domestic Kalnapilis LKL final. Having gone the regular season with a 23 win, 1 loss record, they were not about to stumble at the final hurdle again here.

In the best-of-seven series it was Lietuvos Rytas who drew first blood but Žalgiris struck back at every point sending the series into a deciding seventh game.

Facing thoughts of again tripping at the final barrier, it was a resolved Lietuvos Rytas taking the court on the final night. Fans need not have worried as it became clear from the outset that their team were not about to let another championship slip by, wrapping up the final game 80:71.

Lithuanian players will now turn their attention to international duties as they begin their build up to the world championships beginning in Turkey in September.

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