Two games were played on Tuesday in the Basketball Champions League 2021-22 Qualifying Rounds. One went down to the wire. The other was over before it reached halftime, with a monstrous second quarter by BC Prometey, one so loud it kept the group hosts quiet the rest of the way.
It was a matchup of different schools, with Levski sending an all-Bulgarian lineup to face some of the biggest international names on the BC Prometey squad. It seemed the game would be a close one once Levski opened up a 14-point lead early on in the game, but whatever coach Ronen Ginzburg said to his men in the break between the first and second quarter had a long-lasting impact over the next 30 minutes.
Prometey came back with a bang, winning the second quarter 33-3! It was almost a 33-0 quarter by the Ukrainians, but Ventsislav Petkov knocked down a three-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded to score the only three points for Levski in the quarter, making it a 48-30 deficit at the break. There was no comeback, and it finished 96-56.
“We started real flat. We weren’t denying, and we weren’t playing with a lot of energy. Levski did everything they wanted to in the first quarter. After that first quarter, coach talked to us, and we started playing our basketball,” DJ Stephens said.
The high-flying forward had three dunks and 11 points during the aforementioned quarter and did not have to play more than 16:21 in this game, getting some much-needed rest in a busy schedule of the Qualifiers.
The fact that Opava is up next for Prometey seems to be good news for them. Coach Ginzburg is the national team coach of the Czech Republic and spent so much time over there; it’s safe to say that nobody knows Czech basketball as good as the current Prometey play-caller.
The other Semi-Final will see Le Mans face-off with Parma-Parimatch. The Russians celebrated a 79-76 win over Hapoel Eilat thanks to late-game heroics by their sharpshooting Lithuanian guard Adas Juskevicius.
Hapoel Eilat took a 71-69 in the final minute after Justin Patton’s offensive rebound and a layup, but Juskevicius had a perfect answer. Despite being 0-of-4 from beyond the arc up until that point, Juskevicius dribbled to his spot and knocked down a big three-pointer to give the Russian squad a 72-71 lead with 30 seconds left.
Bryon Allen, who had a monster game himself, knocked down a pair of free throws to give the lead back to Eilat with 13 seconds left in the game, and then it was time for Juskevicius to find another big play. This time he drove to the left, drew contact, found a way to finish through it for an and-one layup that gave Parma the lead for good.
Any thoughts of another lead change disappeared for Hapoel because Marcel Ponitka stole the inbounds pass, and Eigirdas Zukauskas drew an unsportsmanlike foul to end the drama.