Kataja, KTP Climb Positions In Finland

31 October 2013
Teemu Rannikko, Finland
Teemu Rannikko has eased into his role at Kataja Basket, knocking back 13 points to go with five assists on Wednesday night.

Kataja Basket and Team Teho Sport (KTP), the two Finnish clubs that will embark on a EuroChallenge campaign this season, emerged victorious from encounters at home in the domestic Korisliiga on Wednesday.

Both Kataja and KTP were involved in clashes that were considered as 'must-wins' in a bid to position themselves within the top-four of the Korisliiga standings.

KTP were the ones that secured the win in the most spectacular fashion, as they came back from a six-point deficit at half-time to sweep aside UU-Korihait 100-76.

UU-Korihait were the more composed side during the first half and threatened to upset their hosts when they reached the interval holding a 40-34 lead.

But after UU-Korihait extended their lead to 46-39 with 7:32 left to play in the third, Samuli Vanttaja drilled a three-pointer to ignite a fantastic 23-2 burst, which saw KTP turn the seven-point deficit into a 71-54 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The guests could not recover from this shock and KTP maintained their dominance with ease until the final buzzer, as Timo Heinonen scored a game-high 26 points and added nine rebounds, Ryan Ayers finished with 18 points and Chris Owens chipped in with 16 points and five boards.

Meanwhile in Kataja, the home team went neck-and-neck with Tapiolan Honka for most of the game before a mini 6-0 run at the start of the final frame gave them their first double-digit lead and allowed them to pull away for the 77-65 victory.

Veteran Finnish international Teemu Rannikko paved the way for Kataja with a team-high 13 points and five assists, while Sami Lehtoranta and Juho Nenonen finished with 12 points and six rebounds apiece.

Kataja, who now stand at 5-3 in the Korisliiga League standings, were drawn in EuroChallenge Regular Season Group G together with ZZ Leiden, Bakken Bears Aarhus and Cholet.

KTP and will do battle with Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, Gasterra Flames Gronigen and Okapi Aalstar.

Another Scandinavian club that competes in the upcoming edition of EuroChallenge and was also involved in domestic league action on Wednesday, suffered a cruel fate diametrically different to that of the two Finnish sides.

Södertälje BK Kings are no longer undefeated in the Swedish Basketligan, as they lost 92-91 in a dramatic clash with direct rivals Borås Basket on the road.

Lithuanian forward Mantas Griskenas seemed to be securing a big away win for the Kings when he sunk two free throws with just three seconds left on the clock to bring Södertälje ahead 91-89.

But Borås point guard JJ Miller, who had already scored 28 points, received the in-bound pass, darted down the court and drilled a three-pointer from nine meters out right on the final buzzer to gift the win to his team.

The defeat was especially tough on John Roberson, who top-scored for the Kings with 31 points on five-for-seven triples and added four assists, while Martin Pahlmblad finished with 16 points and Griskenas collected a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds in losing efforts.

Södertälje play host to Austrian Bundesliga leaders BC Zepter Vienna in their EuroChallenge Group C opener on Tuesday 5 November.




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