A guest of the traditional pre-match studio at Loko’s home matches, the winner of the Hell’s Kitchen project and a long-time fan of the red-greens, Alexander “Rambo” Pushkov, said that he had no doubt in the victory of your favorite team. At the same time, he regaled the presenters with branded olivier and told them how to stay slim and beautiful after the New Year’s feasts.
The boss’s forecast – in the past, by the way, a player of the Novocherkassk basketball team and the Don Falcons team – began to come true from the first minutes. However, the guests opened the score already at the 3rd second, but then for three minutes they only missed. And three times – from the finalist of the award “The best athlete of the Krasnodar Territory-2022” Andrey Martyuk. You can support the Loko striker both today and throughout the coming days in the decisive vote HERE.
With the score 9:5 in favor of the wards of Alexander Sekulich, Martyuk, in company with Jaylen Barford, went to the bench – and instead of them, Loko newcomers, forward Chris Horton and point guard Joshiah Gray came out on the parquet of the Basket Hall for the first time. Horton immediately earned penalties, and then realized an average throw; Gray scored a “goal” a la Valery Kharlamov in the Super Series, scattering three opponents in different directions at once with the movements of the body. After this cosmic hit, the advantage of “Loco” became double–digit – 17:7.
Then, however, the 150-kilogram center of PARMA-PARI, Joel James, in the best traditions of Shaquille O’Neal, stuck the ball into the ring from above with the opponent’s hands and a foul. And then … in the tradition of the same Shaka executed a bonus penalty without a single chance of hitting the target.
Meanwhile, Gray continued his Christmas and New Year’s performance. A “blind” pass to Darral Willis for a hit-parade dunk – and Loko flew away again-broke away from the opponent with the speed of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Fox, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.
…Clever Ivan Paunich, who was one of the best in the Loko squad in the last two matches, picked up the leadership reins in the second quarter. The Serbian athlete furiously and usefully melted the parquet under both shields. And after a gorgeous penetrating pass a la Messi from Alexander Shcherbenev to Martyuk, the score in favor of Loko became quite tasty and beautiful – 33:22.
Of course, the Permians were not going to just give tangerines of New Year’s mood to the Krasnodar stands (which, by the way, were very warmly welcomed at the pre-match presentation by the guest coach and ex-Loko coach Evgeny Pashutin). The return jerk is 12:2 – and everything has to start all over again, 35:34 in total.
By the big break, largely through the efforts of Horton (13 points and 6 rebounds in two quarters), the hosts found the strength to accelerate again and still secured a pleasant advantage, albeit not a solid one.
Three minutes passed after the resumption of the game – and Pashutin urgently needed a timeout. Two three–pointers from Shcherbenev with a difference of 25 seconds – and already “+14” for Loko (59:45)! Immediately, Horton first effectively covered Justin Roberson, and a few moments stole the ball from him, like a Grinch – Christmas…
Nevertheless, the intrigue continued to twist into a bright garland. A few rebounds in the attack of the giant James and a few of his own hits – and the backlog of Permians began to melt as rapidly as snow in Krasnodar. As a result, Santa Claus came out to inspire the players and fans for the last and decisive one before the final quarter. And he worked out his 30 seconds of glory smartly: the tribunes who caught the courage chanted “Lo-ko! Lo-ko!” with triple force.
Gray immediately scored – and again in some magically improbable way. A few seconds later, two Krasnodar players with a four-armed Shiva defaced James, and Barford flew into the gap with a butterfly and stung his rivals with a foul hit. Again “+14”, again it’s time to dance, have fun and uncork virtual champagne.
The Permians, however, continued to demonstrate a steeply salted character and reduced the lag to “-5” 2.5 minutes before the end. Sekulich, in his attempts to explain to his wards exactly what they need to do on the floor in the final seconds, foamed the sideline with a proud and furious frigate. The most important selection in the attack in the fight against James was gnawed out by Martyuk, and 55 seconds before the siren, Barford performed a trademark, knockdown hit from an average distance. But – the rivals were able to reduce the gap to almost a minimum (85:87)! Willis also smeared a penalty in 9 seconds…
As a result, Horton became the main hero of the match, covering Robertson’s potentially overtime three-pointer. 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, an assist, not a single loss and the winning block shot – such powerful statistics were collected by the American in his first match in Krasnodar. Well, one point – victory, two – defeat!
Tomorrow, the Loko players will go on short-term vacations, and before the New Year they will resume training. Krasnodar’s next home match will be held on January 5 against the main competitor in the fight for the fifth place – Pari NN. The beginning is at 16:00. Tickets are at локо.рф.