TAOYUAN (World Deaf Basketball Championships) – Lithuania’s men and the United States women reigned supreme at the 2015 World Deaf Basketball Championships held recently in Chinese Taipei.
The Lithuanians, who went unbeaten in their opening group with convincing victories over Japan, Russia and Israel, then brushed aside Turkey, 67-32 in the Quarter-Finals and Greece, 80-31, in the last four.
Getting outstanding play from tournament MVP Arvydas Bareikis and Best Five members Gediminas Zukas and Andrej Zenevic, Lithuania then edged the United States in a thrilling Gold Medal Game, 78-75.
The USA had won all three of their opening round group games and also rolled to a big victory over Israel (92-51) in the Quarter-Finals before scraping an 87-83 success against Russia.
Michael Lizarraga of the USA made the tournament’s Best Five.
The Russians, whose Dmitry Gusev was the tournament’s leading scorer and also a Best Five selection, bounced back from the defeat to the Americans with an 83-54 rout of Greece in the Bronze Medal Game.
Rafail Petalas made the tournamen’s Best Five for Greece.
The USA women got an MVP performance Lindsay Stergio as they cut down the opposition like a scythe slicing through wheat.
The Americans won all four of their opening round group games, knocking off Ukraine (57-47), Japan (95-38), Turkey (89-26) and Italy (69-39).
Lithuania’s women also went unbeaten in their opening round group with victories over Sweden (77-16), Israel (100-21), Chinese Taipei (98-25) and Greece (65-59).
In the knockout stages, Lithuania hammered Turkey 108-26 in the Quarter-Finals and Ukraine 79-56 in the Semi-Finals.
But the USA, who thumped Chinese Taipei 84-19 in the last eight and then blew out Greece, 76-37, in the Semi-Finals, were too good in the title showdown and won, 68-54.
Ukraine rebounded from their defeat to Lithuania by defeating Greece in the Bronze Medal Game, 63-53.
Raven Pentze and Victoria Faieta of the USA, the tournament’s leading scorer Ecrin Kose of Turkey, Justina Burbaite-Maciuniene of Lithuania and Iuliia Moskalets of Ukraine were named to the women’s tournament’s Best Five.
The Fair Play awards went to Japan in the men’s tournament and Chinese Taipei in the women’s event.