In the opening game of the National League season, which took place in Atyrau, our team had to test its strength against the main rival of recent seasons «Barsy Atyrau».
According to the league rules for the match, our coaching staff could put only two players from the EurAsEC countries and two imports from other countries. Mark Tikhonenko with Russian citizenship is the only player from the EurAsEC, so he can participate in matches without any problems. As for the American players, only two could be chosen and Darko Russo entrusted this match to Jaylen Barford and Anthony Hickey. It was they who started game together with Nikolay Bazhin, Dmitry Gavrilov and Maxim Marchuk.
The first points in this match and in the entire league this season, as well as the first personal points in the Kazakhstan Championship, were scored by the capital's newcomer Jaylen Barford. The American scored 6 points in a row, and Dmitry Gavrilov brought Astana's advantage to 8 points before the rivals could score in our basket, and that was already in the fifth minute of the game. Immediately after half of the period, Anthony Hickey scored his first points in Kazakhstan, bringing the gap between the teams to double digits. But these were the last points of the capital team in this quarter. “Barsy” were also not very productive, but improved their position. As a result, the first period was extremely ineffective, the teams for two scored less than 20 points — 6:12 in favor of “Astana”. The second period did not start very well either. 2 points from Barford and the first points in Kazakhstan from Mark Tikhonenko — and three-pointer too, the first in the match and in the whole season. In the middle of the period, “Astana” finally settled in and increased the pace of the game. Even the time-out from the hosts could not stop a shooting streak from our team. Anthony Hickey and Mark Tikhonenko were actively scoring points, as well as Kolya Bazhin. The capital's handicap came close to twenty points. Pan and Shcherbak opened their personal scores before the big break, and after a three-pointer from Vadim, the capital's advantage finally exceeded twenty. Although at the end, the first half of the match stopped with a score - 20:38.
The confident advantage after the first half did not break the opponents and after a long break they were demonstrating a more confident game, but “Astana” continued to hold the initiative. No matter how hard the hosts tried, by the middle of the third period the advantage of our team again reached 20 points. Anthony Barford played excellently in this period, and together with Nikolay Bazhin, they organized another pull away, bringing the gap between the teams closer to 30 points.
The final score in the period was set by Robert Pan, who earned two points in the last second — 38:66. 28 points before the final quarter gave almost 100% confidence in today's victory and Darko Russo began to involve the youngest players. In the fourth quarter, Oleg Balashov entered the game, who in this match opposed his former teammates. And if at first Oleg did not act very confidently, then he noticeably improved and created many problems for his rivals. At the start of the period, “Barsy” acted more confidently and reduced partially their backlog, but the difference continued to exceed 20 points. In the last minutes, Rustam Murzagaliev and Ruslan Aitkali scored their first points of the season, Oleg Balashov was also accurate. The advantage of “Astana” began to increase again and reached 30 points, and the final score set by Dmitry Gavrilov a minute before the end of the match was 50:81.
- «Astana» — The most productive player of the match was Jaylen Barford — 17 points and 8 rebounds, and the most effective — Mark Tikhonenko (14 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals). Anthony Hickey scored 12 points and 3 rebounds in his first match. And Dmitry Gavrilov and Robert Pan performed 8 rebounds each, while Dima also chalked up 9 points, and Rob scored 8 points and 3 assists.
- «Barsy Atyrau» — Belarusian power forward Denis Vikentiev became the best among the rivals with 15 points and 8 rebounds. American Jordan Watson has 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
The second game with “Barsy Atyrau” will take place tomorrow, September 27, in Atyrau at the “Jysan Arena”. The match starts at 18:00 Nur-Sultan time. Online broadcast of the match will be available on the main page of our website.
Detailed information about the tournament, tournament tables, schedule and match results are published in the Tournaments