The national basketball team was less than 30 seconds away from what would have been an historic victory over basketball-powerhouse Lithuania. Tonight's game against Latvia will be the last in the group stages at the European Championships with the winner going through to the next round.
Estonia faced Lithuania, which most had backed to win the group, on Wednesday evening at the European Championships in Riga.
Estonia began the game slowly, but did manage to lead by a few points in the middle of the first quarter. Lithuania rallied at the end of the first quarter to win it 20:15. The second quarter was similar, with Estonia going strong until the end, when Lithuania bounced back to win by 38:31.
Estonia regained the lead in the third quarter against a nation which has won seven basketball medals at world and European championships and three Olympic medals. Estonia led at the end of the third quarter 51:49.
Estonia pulled further away, leading 62:55 with less than four minutes to go. Estonia then saw Janar Talts, Estonia's top scorer, benched after five fouls, after which Lithuania drew level. Then Siim-Sander Vene, who plays club basketball in Lithuania, lost the ball with Lithuania scoring and taking a two-point-lead. With two seconds to go, Gregor Arbet had a chance to shoot, but missed a three-point shot, which would have given Estonia a win. The match ended 62:64 to Lithuania.
After two heavy defeats to the Czech Republic and Belgium, Estonia defeated Ukraine on Monday. Thursday's crunch match against Latvia will determine which of the two teams will make the play-off tournament, held in France.
Editor: J.M. Laats