Joensuun Arena – Kataja Basket has claimed its first-ever Finnish Korisliiga championship this 2014/15 after taking Game 5 of the Finals series against Nilan Bisons Loimaa, 88-85. It was an epic culmination to what was a hard-fought series between two deserving teams. After five finals appearances in the last decade, Kataja Basket now wear the gold around their necks.
The guests greeted their hosts with some inspired play in the first quarter and the offense that came was fast and furious. The Bisons established an early 24-30 lead in the first frame. Defenses were tightened on both sides in the second frame. Kataja Basket was able cut the lead down to five points and the score stood at 44-49 at halftime.
After the break, the third quarter had both clubs battle to an almost even outcome. While Kataja Basket had a slight edge in the three-point shooting department, but the Nilan Bisons kept up with them thanks to some scoring at the free-throw line. The home team finally came through with an explosive fourth quarter. Kataja outscored the club from Loimaa 23-14 to eventually come away with the exciting win.
Ken Horton led three other Kataja Basket players in double figures with 22 points. Teemu Rannikko was impressive with 21 points and 12 assists as he orchestrated the team’s offense. Tommi Houlila added 20 points and Robert Arnold came through with a double-double performance of his own, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Anthony Hillard was the top scorer for the Nilan Bisons with 32 points, but unfortunately it was not enough to carry his team. Martin Zeno and Ian Hummer each added 17 points.