SPORTS

Reds claim top spot in regular season

By George Georgakopoulos

Olympiakos secured home advantage for the whole of the playoffs as the end of the regular season on Wednesday found the Reds on top with just one defeat in 24 games.

The Piraeus giants have not won the Greek league since 1997, but had finished top of the regular season twice in the last three years, in 2009 and 2011, only to surrender home advantage in the playoff finals to Panathinaikos, who beat them at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on both occasions.

On Wednesday the Reds dismissed host Ilisiakos 83-57 behind closed doors at Zografou to end up one point ahead of Panathinaikos, who one day earlier had thrashed visiting Kolossos Rhodes 100-57 at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens.

Surprise package Kolossos finished third, with AGO Rethymnou in fourth as the Cretan side secured its best ever finish through a 98-67 triumph over KAO Dramas at home.

Kavala edged out Panionios in a very entertaining game at the Macedonian city that ended 75-68, while Aris slumped to a disappointing seventh after going down to host Peristeri 78-63 on Wednesday.

Finally, cash-strapped Maroussi bid farewell to the top flight after 14 consecutive years, during which it won a European cup and featured in the Euroleague. In its last game Maroussi surrendered to Ikaros Kallitheas at home with a 104-79 score.

In the best-of-three playoff quarterfinals Olympiakos will face PAOK, Panathinaikos will clash with Aris, Kolossos will meet Kavala and AGO Rethymnou will play Panionios. Games 1 of the series are on April 18 and 19.

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