It was an eye-opening Round 11 in the Greek A1 league. Out of the six games played out, none other was more interesting nor as important as the one between Peristeri GS and league-leading Panathinaikos Athens.
It was an encounter between two top-4 teams and one that had the attention of not just their respective fans, but of those of Greek hoops in general.
Peristeri, 8-2 at the time, played host to the 10-0 Panathinaikos. It was a thrilling game, the only one played on December 15th, with the Greek A1 saving the best for last.
Peristeri was able to put up a strong performance on both ends of the floor, balancing their offense and defense to stifle the league’s top team.
Panathinaikos came out swinging and put up a 15-22 lead at the end of the first quarter. Peristeri would rally in the second period to erase the lead and head into the halftime break up by three points.
In the third quarter, Peristeri did not relinquish any of the momentum they managed to muster. They forced key turnovers from Panathinaikos and translated those to easy points, ballooning their lead to 16 points after three quarters.
Rick Pitino’s green shirts would find their chance to rally in the fourth quarter but Peristeri’s defense would hold strong, keeping enough of their lead intact for them to come away with the impressive upset win.
William Hatcher had 14 points to pace the victors. Yannick Moreira was instrumental for Peristeri’s win with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
It’s back to the drawing board for Panathinaikos. Their brief defensive lapses in this game haunted them at the very end. They’re still the Greek A1’s top dogs, but no longer undefeated. Can Peristeri use this much-needed momentum and parlay it into a streak of their own? We will see as there’s still a lot of hoops to play in the Greek A1 league.