BASKETBALL

Larissa stays up, leaving Messolonghi last

Panathinaikos eclipses Lavrio to clinch the top spot in the regular season

larissa-stays-up-leaving-messolonghi-last

Panathinaikos imposed itself on Lavrio on Saturday to remind the year’s surprise package who the boss of the Basket League is, while Larissa scored a vital win against Iraklis to send Messolonghi down.

Larissa relied mainly on 22-year-old Greece rookie Kostas Papadakis who scored 12 points and led the Thessaly team to a come-from-behind 80-76 victory against Iraklis on Sunday.

The result means bottom team Messolonghi cannot catch Larissa anymore, given also its 84-68 loss at the same time at Promitheas.

It remains unknown, however, whether the last team of the Basket League will go down, as the A2 division has only just resumed and it is unknown whether any teams will graduate to the top flight or how many clubs will make up next season’s Basket League, thereby giving Messolonghi some hope. Reports speak of a possible expansion that may also include the return of Olympiakos to the Greek league.

On the other side of the table, champion Panathinaikos avenged its shock loss at Lavrio earlier this season trouncing its visitor 105-69 on Saturday and clinching home advantage for the entire playoffs.

AEK now appears to be an also-run, as its 79-72 loss at Kolossos Rhodes on Saturday was followed by the dismissal of its coach, Ilias Papatheodorou. It may well end up fourth, as Promitheas is hot on its heels.

In the other weekend games, Aris saw off Ionikos Nikaias 74-62 and PAOK clinched the fifth spot with its comfortable 85-66 defeat of Peristeri in Thessaloniki.