The 2013-14 Lietkabelis season officially came to a close Saturday afternoon. Needing a victory in their final regular season game to clinch a playoff berth, Lietkabelis was forced to play the waiting game after coming up short April 23rd. Sitting at #9, with the top eight clubs advancing to the playoffs, Lietkabelis needed #8 Nevezis to lose two in a row to squeak into the postseason. Although the two clubs shared identical records, Nevezis won the tie breaker by just a two point differential. To make matters worse, Lietkabelis missed a three at the buzzer in the final meeting between the two. A thirty-one game season, spanning seven months, came down to two points and one missed shot.
Lietkabelis almost got their wish as #2 Neptunas defeated Nevesis Wednesday on a last second buzzer beater (top play). Unfortunately, Nevezis final regular season game came against #5 Zvaigzdes, a club whose playoff fortunes were already sealed. As a result, Zvaigzdes rested many of their starters and Nevezis capitalized with an 80-66 victory, claiming the eighth and final playoff spot. Lietkabelis finished the LKL season at a 12-22 mark, an improvement from last year where they finished #11.
The team was led by American center Ryan Olander, who finished the season with averages of 11 ppg and 6 rpg. His complete stat line can be found below:
It is also worth mentioning that Olander was the lone representative for Lietkabelis at the 2014 LKL All Star Game played on March 3rd in Klaipeda. Olander suited up for Rytai (Eastern Division) with the likes of former Dallas Mavericks draft pick Reynaldos Seibutis and Louisville Cardinal Juan Palacios. The West squad featured former Georgia high flyer Travis Leslie, Duke Blue Devil Martynas Pocius and Dallas Maverick Justin Dentmon. Olander finished with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 11 minutes in his All Star debut as the East lost to the West 113-108. Below is Olander’s All Star jersey:
East All Star Jersey
Lietkabelis took advantage of 58 points in the paint to dismantle #11 LSU-Atletas by a score of 93-71 in Round 19 play. The game was not only a big road win for #10 Lietkabelis but also put them another game ahead of last place LSU. The victors controlled the glass by a 44-30 margin, neutralizing 7’3 center and LKL leading rebounder Tomas Urbonas. Russian center Ivan Nelyubov had a huge game for Lietkabelis, leading the team with 32 points and 8 rebounds. Ryan Olander contributed 4 points and 3 rebounds while American newcomer Darrick Leonard (Aurora College) finished with 2 points/5 rebounds in his first game.
Full game can be watched here: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787989&season_id=87901
In Round 20 action, Lietkabelis held on for a 85-77 home victory against #9 Dzukija. The win had playoff implications for #10 Lietkabelis, putting the club within one game of Dzukija as both teams battle for the last postseason berth (top 8 advance). Russian center Ivan Nelyubov tallied a double double for Lietkabelis (20/11) while American Darrick Leonard chipped in 19/9 off the bench. Ryan Olander added 16 points on 6-9 shooting (including 2 3’s) and 6 rebounds (4 offensive) for a 16 efficiency rating. Lietkabelis returns to the hardwood February 18th against #1 seed Tonybet in an attempt to continue their climb in the standings. Tonybet has defeated Lietkabelis in all three meetings this year by an average score of 15.
Full game can be watched here: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2788003&season_id=87901#stf
Check out this big dunk by Olander during a recent BBL match up (20 second mark):
Also note the song is not only real but played before every BBL game…
December 11th, 2013 marks Round 11 of the premier domestic basketball league in Lithuania (LKL). Panevezys-Lietkabelis enters play fresh off a 69-61 defeat at the hands of P. Zaigzdes, a club featuring former Louisville Cardinals/Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Derrick Caracter. The LKL regular season consists of 31 games culminating in three rounds of playoffs involving the top eight teams*. Today, Lietkabelis finds itself at the bottom of the eleven team league with a record of 2-9 however, with fifteen league games left there remains plenty of time to secure a playoff berth.
Lietkabelis is led by 7’0 (213cm) center Ryan Olander out of Mansfield, CT who enters Round 11 averaging 15.4 ppg/7.4 rpg – good for fourth and fifth in the league respectively. Olander previously played for Juventus/Palanga, also of the LKL, averaging 13/7 in his first year abroad. Lietkabelis resumes play this afternoon on the road against #10 LSU-Atletas with a chance to move up in the standings. Atletas handled Lietkabelis by a score of 90-84 back on November 5th in their only matchup of the young season.
More to come following the action…
*OF NOTE: While Lietkabelis is a member of the LKL, their schedule consists of clubs from three leagues spanning much of eastern/northern Europe:
- Baltic Basketball League (BBL): Estonia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden
- Notable Americans: Derrick Caracter (UTEP/LA Lakers), Derek Needham (Fairfield U)
- VTB United League (VTB): Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine
- Notable Americans: Julian Wright (Kansas/Toronto Raptors), Paul Davis (Michigan St/LA Clippers), Derrick Brown (Xavier/Charlotte Bobcats)
- Euroleague (NBA of Europe): 41 different countries represented, notable clubs- Real Madrid (Spain), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) and Olympiacos (Greece)
- Notable Americans: Marcus Williams (UCONN/NJ Nets), Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Justin Dentmon (Washington/Dallas Mavs), Omar Cook (St. John’s/Denver Nuggets)