Honka's revenge was sweet as they beat visitors Skonta Riga 77-51 in Espoo. Honka played excellent defence during the entire second half, holding the Latvians to 51 points while taking the very first victory for the Finnish side in the FEL this season.
Unfortunately Skonto´s Andris Biedrins was sick and missed his opportunity to show off his skills to a few NBA scouts who were due come to see the young Latvian stars in Finland.
Honka took a small lead right at the beginning of the game, however during the second quarter Skonto´s zone defence forced Honka to play only out on the perimeter where they had to take difficult shots. Dametri Hill (Skonto), in particular, took care that Honka couldn´t pull away and for Honka Shawn Huff was the key player during their bad moments. At half-time the score stood at 34-31. Skonto missed lots of open shots, but they played with very aggressive defence.
Yet the first three minutes of the third quarter, both teams made their presence felt on the court, especially when Hill and Darren Kelly were able to break Honka´s defence. Then center Stephen Rich (Honka) picked up his fourth foul and he was called to the bench. It was expected that Skonto would use this opportunity, but Rich´s substitute Aki Ulander woke his team up. Ulander and Huff lead the home team to win the rest of the quarter.
While Honka still had the will to win, their opponents had mentally already left the court. The home team had fun in offense and at the same time, they allowed Skonto only nine points during the last quarter. Honka ended with a 26-point victory over Skonto and while the Finns shot 30/56 field goals, Skonto missed 48 shots (17/65), which is absolutely far too many to win any game.
Game-MVP: Shawn Huff
Mihailo Pavicevic, Head Coach, Honka Playboys:
"I´m extremely satisfied how we played, especially in the second half. We played an excellent defence. This is mentally very important for my team."
Shawn Huff, Honka Playboys:
"Sometimes things like the fourth foul of Steve Rich today wake up the team. Of course we decided to play a better defence after the half-time, and today we really could keep the decisions."
Guntis Endzels, Head Coach, Skonto Riga:
"We only had one player on court today, Dametri Hill. Of course Andris Biedrins was sick, but still we should have got more help from other players. Nobody can win any games playing like this."