Black Wednesday: Lithuanian basketball team out of the race for Olympic medals
The Lithuanian men's basketball team lost the chance to play for Olympic gold after losing to team Australia on Wednesday.
To read this article, try a €5.99 monthly subscription by clicking here.
The match between Australia and Lithuania ended with the score 90:64 (17:26, 13:22, 13:22, 21:20).
"We lost and we have to swallow the bitter pill. We know how much basketball means in Lithuania. We gave all our strength, but sometimes things are what they are, all we can do is thank those who supported and believed in us," defender Renaldas Seibutis said after the match.
Team Lithuania advanced to the quarter-finals with three victories and two defeats.
Since 1992, when Lithuania débuted in Summer Olympics, its basketball team would always make it to the top 4, except in 2012 in London. It has three Olympic bronze medals.
The game quarter-by-quarter
Since the beginning of the match, Lithuania failed to stop the Australian attacks and, at the end of the first quarter, the Australians had a nine-point lead, 26:17.
During the second quarter, Lithuania managed to score only 13 points while their rivals scored 22.
At the halftime, the faces of the Lithuanian players said everything when the scoreboard showed 48-30. It was seen that the Lithuanian players lost their way on the floor and didn’t know what to do in order to return to the game.
The third quarter was a re-run of the second one when Australia won with the same score, 22-13, and increasing the gap to 27 points. During the last quarter, Lithuania finally woke up, but it was too little and too late. Team Lithuania managed to win the quarter by a single point, 21-20, but the final score was 90-64.
Despite the loss, team Lithuania got the gratefulness from the nation that hugged the disappointed players who promised to up their game in the next big tournament. After the match, the captain of the national team, Robertas Javtokas, announced his retirement from the national squad. He did not play in Wednesday's match.
Mantas Kalnietis and Antanas Kavaliauskas led the Lithuanian team with 11 points each with Jonas Valančiūnas grabbing eight rebounds and scoring six points.