We have now played for 6 days at the European Basketball Championships for the Masters in Kaunas, Lithuania. There are so many men's and woman's teams here playing on a real high level (about 140 teams), just how I like it.
My team, the German National team over 45, has been so busy with 5 games that I just now find time for a report.
We started off playing against Latvia, and after the jitters were gone (we were down by 8 points), we won the game by 5 points. The next two games we run our two opponents out of the gym (Finland and Czech Republic), yeah, the secret in any sport is fitness and toughness!! We had the fast break going, flying down the court.
In the meantime Latvia beat the Russian team that had denied us the Gold last year in the World Championship, by 5 points.
So we started to focus on our game against Russia since we now had to beat them to make it into the Finals. Poland, our opponent before the Russians had lost several games. So my teammates were out very late for players night and on top of it drinking that night. To get to the lesson we learned right away, we took Poland too light and did not prepare how one needs to prepare for any competition. I got very angry when we were down 10 points at the end of the 3rd quarter and with extra energy I pushed my team to a 1 point win in the 4th quarter, shooting a 3, getting 2 steals with fast breaks and drawing an intentional foul with 2 big free throws. I had shot the free throws badly so far in the tournament, but knocked those big ones down.
The Poland game was a big wake-up call for my team, and we got away with "a black eye". Things often happen for a reason, and my team was more than ready for the game against Russia (lesson learned!). That team had beaten us every year including last year in the finals of the World Championships in Brazil. Everybody rested the evening before, and we came out on fire leading by 17 points at half time, and beating them by 12 points at the end. It was our energy, focus and fitness that our opponent could not match. That team had won the Olympics 20 years ago (a few players from that team were of course missing by now). Looks like the German woman stayed in much better shape...
It was a huge win for us for 2 reasons: We finally beat the team that had never lost, and we will play in the Finals for Gold today against Latvia today.
My basketball friends are following our games on live ticker online and I get game reports the minute I come back from the games in the hotel. Yes, with modern technology one cannot hide: