Ivan Kaperzov, Loko’s rehabilitation specialist, celebrated his birthday on the day of the game. One of his charges, Zakhar Vedischev, who spent the previous game as a TV commentator, not only came on the court in the opening quarter, but also was the fastest cheetah on very fast breakaways.
Just like in the game against Parma, the home team didn’t have much – or rather, any – trouble shooting from the field (only 3 of 15 in the first period). However, Aleksandar Sekulic’s charges quickly adjusted to their own lack of offense and started looking for luck and fouls in the passing lanes. As a result, they made 14 free throws in the first 10 minutes and missed only 1.
The visitors hit more than half of what they threw away. And in the middle of the second quarter they led +7 – 30:23.
Loko’s fan section, which celebrated its 11th anniversary on October 7, was in full swing. Right during the game, the fans received a huge cake from the club’s partners, Vanilla Confectionery, which could only compete with its own size in terms of pleasing their taste buds. Having received a hefty dose of serotonin, the fans began to applaud and bang the drums even louder.
The match was also attended by Loko’s biggest fan in every sense – the best coach in game sports in Russian history, Evgeny Vasilyevich Trefilov. If anyone doesn’t remember, under his leadership our women’s handball team won the Olympics and four times (!!!!) at the World Championships. Evgeniy Vasilyevich lit up the pre-match studio with his fire and received the fan-shop’s branded merchandise to a standing ovation from the audience.
Under all this solemn and joyful story, the Loko players sifted through the ore of misses in search of golden grains of hits. And they found them more and more often. After an accurate three-pointer by Vladislav Emchenko from the corner, the home team’s lead shrank to -4. And after a gorgeous flight and overhead shot by Jordan Morgan – almost in the best tradition of his legendary namesake – it was down to the minimum, 37-38.
However, Vasily Karasev’s wards took the end of the quarter with an experienced boxer – “+6” by the big break.
Exactly in the middle of the third ten minutes, Okaro White tried to flash his Iverson dribbling. He almost let the ball out of his grasp a couple of times during possession, but in the end he confused his opponent and evened the score, 45-45! A little later, the charming and handsome Anton Kvitkovskikh gave the hosts back the lead for the first time in a long time – 49:48.
Jalen Barford remembered his three-point marksmanship just in time. Young Kirill Temirov played great defense against Evgeny Voronov, who is a very, very old brother, if not his father. The fans were boiling the Tefal kettle thinking about us – and booed mercilessly every decision of the referees. Kirill Elatontsev unleashed his 212 centimeters into a fastbreak – and drove, pardon the tautology, into the opponents’ ring with a magnificent dunk. “+4” is still much better than “-4” …
However, by the end of the period, it was -1: Evgeny Minchenko converted an offensive rebound into easy points, and Maxim Barashkov didn’t miss from beyond the arc.
To put it bluntly, the basketball played by both teams at the end of the half-hour could not be called splendid. There were plenty of mistakes and bad decisions. Determining the winner predictably came down to a clash of personalities, which both Loko and IBA demonstrated in an assortment of ways over the course of last season.
Evgeny Voronov, a Merited Master of Sports and simply a very deserving player, didn’t shy away after receiving his fourth foul and brought his team’s lead to +3. Zakhar Vedischev found a two-point chance on the offensive end, but the visitors kept scoring.
But then Okaro White didn’t miss from beyond the arc – 64-64, another tie with one unknown: “who will win”. And he also hit free throws from the free throw line to give the home team a microscopic +1 lead.
…Alexander Sekulich threw Dmitri Uzinski into the end zone, and he immediately thanked his coach with a great pass to the same White, “+2”. And both of them made a great defensive play! Morgan rebounded and scored, Uzinski delighted the crowd, his teammates and everyone with another steal and a pass to Scherbenev for an accurate foul shot – 72:65 with 96 seconds left.
The same Uzinsky became the tip of the spear for the red-and-green offense on the next possession – 74:67. Loko showed character and deservedly won the game. The next game will be played – very easy to remember – on October 15 at 15:15 Moscow time, in Yekaterinburg against Uralmash.