Kaunas “Žalgiris” delivered an impressive performance as they secured a convincing 87-73 victory against the local team in Šiauliai. This triumph marked their 14th win in 16 games within the competitive Lithuanian Basketball League.
Following the intense matchup, team strategist Andrea Trinchieri commended the vibrant atmosphere in Šiauliai, describing the second quarter as nothing short of magical. Expressing concern for Rolandas Šmitas’ injury, Trinchieri hoped that the setback wasn’t severe.
“I want to extend my congratulations to the Šiauliai team for the outstanding arena and atmosphere. I truly enjoyed the evening. Our sole purpose in coming here was to foster the right mindset and execute strategies conducive to victory. We had to carefully manage our playing time.”
Reflecting on the performance, Trinchieri acknowledged a lackluster first quarter where they conceded 26 points, considering it a bit too much. However, he emphasized the team’s commendable recovery in the subsequent three quarters, particularly highlighting the second quarter as a “magical” turning point that set the tone for the rest of the game. The only setback was the injury to Rolandas, but Trinchieri remained optimistic that it was not a serious issue.
The coach also expressed elation at the return of Arnas Butkevičius to the court after a month and a half hiatus due to injury. Despite acknowledging that Butkevičius might not be in peak condition after two months of inactivity, Trinchieri underscored the player’s significance to the team.
“We are leaving with a well-deserved victory. That was our objective. Another positive note is the return of Arna Butkevičius. He is a crucial player for us. While he may not be in optimal form after a two-month absence from play, his presence is invaluable to our team.”
In a display of respect for the rich basketball history of Lithuania, Trinchieri paid homage to legendary coach Antanas Sireika. Recognizing Sireika’s contributions to both club and national teams, Trinchieri emphasized the importance of acknowledging basketball legends when visiting a country where the sport is akin to a second religion.
“When you step into a basketball country where the game is a second religion, you must be acquainted with the legends. I know who Sireika is and what he has achieved. Showing respect is the right thing to do. I shook hands with him. Nothing teaches you better than history. I know who Coach Sireika is. Before the game, he told me, ‘This is Šiauliai; it won’t be easy.’ After the first quarter, I replied that he was right.”
Looking ahead, Trinchieri mentioned the upcoming day off for the players after a prolonged break. While acknowledging the players’ eagerness to have a training session, he emphasized the need for rest and recovery.
“The players are anticipating a day off. We’ve never had one so far. Tomorrow will be different. The next two weeks are crucial, and I hope, together, we can achieve something significant. I strive to understand the players, their desires, and how they can be effective. While I would like to conduct a practice at the ‘Žalgiris’ arena right now, I’m not foolish; I understand the importance of allowing the players to rest.”