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Wolves Twinsbet secures first quarterfinals win

A key quarterfinals match-up in the Lithuanian Basketball League (Betsafe-LKL) started off dramatically, with Wolves Twinsbet holding off BC Neptūnas of Klaipėda at their Twinsbet Arena home floor to secure a 1-0 series lead, winning 91-84 (31-22, 14-20, 19-21, 27-21).

Game 2 of the race-to-two-wins faceoff shifts to the port city of Klaipėda on Wednesday, May 15.

Garrison Brooks and Artūrs Žagars led the home team, establishing a good lead early in the game with a score of 14-6. Despite Mindaugas Girdžiūnas’s efforts to close the gap for Neptūnas, G. Brooks extended the Wolves’ lead to 18-12.

Wolves Twinsbet led 31-22 after the first quarter, and soon the scoring disparity reached double digits at 35-22. Ąžuolas Tubelis then spearheaded the Neptūnas attack to chip away at their disadvantage (33-37), Tim Lambrecht pushed the visitors after and they snatched the lead momentarily. However, Wolves Twinsbet managed to respond and retake the pole position (45-42) just before halftime.

In just two quarters, G. Brooks already had 14 points and logged 6 rebounds with an efficiency rating of 21. He was the only player in double figures for both teams. However, he could not continue due to a back injury after a hard fall to the ground in the second quarter.

Although the hosts tried to increase their lead after the halftime break, it did not last long as Deividas Gailius played a significant role for BC Neptūnas, chipping away at the lead to make it 51-52. Žygimantas Janavičius tied the score at 57-all, but Vaidas Kariniauskas responded with a booming three-pointer. After three quarters, Wolves Twinsbet maintained a slim one-point lead, 64-63.

In the final quarter, both teams fought fiercely to establish dominance. D. Gailius equalized the score at 71-71 with a long-distance bucket, but the Vilnius club managed to string together several good plays to maintain a significant advantage, leading 80-73. Ignas Sargiūnas and D. Gailius then put together their own mini-run to once again claw their way back, bringing the score to 79-80. With 2 minutes remaining, J. Taylor’s clutch basket gave Wolves Twinsbet a little more breathing room at 84-79. M. Pacevičius added two more points for BC Neptūnas but had his shot blocked in the final minute, paving the way for R. Sulaimon’s and-1 play with a bonus free-throw and Regimantas Miniotas’ fastbreak layup, clinching the victory for the home team with a final score of 89-81.

Wolves Twinsbet: Rasheed Sulaimon 17, Eigirdas Žukauskas 16, Garrison Brooks 14, Jeffery Taylor 10 (7 rebounds), Christian Mekowulu 8, Artūrs Žagars 7, Kristupas Žemaitis and Vaidas Kariniauskas 6 each, Regimantas Miniotas 4, Tre’Shawn Thurman 3. Arnas Beručka and Vitalijus Kozys did not log any playing time.

BC Neptūnas: Deividas Gailius 18, Ažuolas Tubelis 15 (10 rebounds), Martynas Pacevičius 12.

(Photo: Elvis Žaldaris)