Shock for Aris, Maroussi qualifies

Maroussi is preparing for its clash with Alba Berlin tomorrow for a spot in the group stage of the Euroleague, basketball’s top club competition in Europe, after thrashing Aris 89-60 on Friday in Athens. Having to overturn a two-point deficit from the first leg of the knock-out tie last Tuesday, when Aris had won 69-67, the hosts at the Olympic Sports Center stormed into the match and led 21-4 thanks to an amazing scoring rate and an ultra-tight defense. Aris had no answer to what was undoubtedly Maroussi’s best performance in recent years and fell behind by 22 points toward the end of the first half. There was practically no change in the second half as Maroussi continued to pile on the pressure with the strong defense as devised by coach Giorgos Bartzokas, while scoring some impressive baskets at the other end. The 89-60 result was a fair reflection of the game that sealed Maroussi’s qualification to the second and final qualifying round of the Euroleague, in which the northern Athens club will face Alba in home and away games, starting tomorrow in Athens. The second leg is scheduled for Sunday. Aris, meanwhile, officially announced the termination of its contract with Italian coach Andrea Mazzon on Saturday. The shock elimination of Aris after a miserable performance in Athens and its relegation to the Eurocup disappointed the team’s fans who called for immediate measures. The favorite to replace Mazzon is former Pamesa Valencia coach Fotis Katsikaris.