Four Australians managed to find their way into European national cup finals this week, with three of them coming away with some mid-season silverware.
Zalgiris Kaunas lifted the King Mindaugas Cup in Lithuania, accounting for Rytas Vilnius 80-60 in the final. After a tight first half, a blistering 21-7 third term set up the victory for Zalgiris, with Jock Landale playing an important role in the win, adding 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting in the final.
Cameron Bairstow was in action for Rytas, adding 1 point, 1 rebound and 1 steal in 10 minutes as a starter.
Their pathway to the King Mindaugas Cup included wins against Siauliai in the quarterfinals (105-66) and Lietkabelis (82-72). Zalgiris boasts a 12-2 record in the Lithuanian National League and sits atop the standings, while in the EuroLeague they are in 13th place with a 9-15 record and with work to do.
Australian raised Dominic Gilbert played a starring role for Zadar in their impressive Croatian Cup victory. In the final against Cibona, Gilbert poured in 15 points to help lead his team account for his former club in the final. Trailing by as many as 10 in the second half, Zadar unleashed a 26-6 run that help set them on the path to an 89-76 victory.
Credit: Zvonko Kucelin / KK Zadar
Zadar are currently sitting pretty in first place in the Croatian Premier League standings with a 13-2 record, yet they are currently last in the Adriatic League standings, with just 4 wins to their name.
Australian assistant coach Liam Flynn has enjoyed some mid-season success with Hapoel Jerusalum, winning the Isaraeli State Cup for a second straight year following a 92-89 win over Ironi Nahariya in the final. His side would have to make their way to the final the hard way, upsetting EuroLeague side Maccabi Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals before navigating past EuroCup side Rishon in the semifinal.
Liam Flynn | Source: Supplied
Hapoel Jerusalum is currently second in the Israeli Winner League standings with a 13-4 record, within reach of Maccabi Tel Aviv who are in first place with a 16-1 record. They also qualified for the Basketball Champions League Round of 16 as winners of Group B during the regular season.