Lithuania booked a spot in the sixth Olympic Games in a row with a convincing performance and a 109-83 (21-16, 31-20, 23-25, 34-22) victory against the Dominican Republic in the semifinal of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.
The team has played in every single Olympics since regaining independence, making the semifinals all five times – in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
“London! I’m very happy. There is no more pressure, as we achieved our goals and made it to the Olympics. We’re all very happy,” said the coach of the national side Kestutis Kemzura.
Lithuania started strong from the very first minutes, but the Dominican Republic stayed around in the game until the beginning of the second quarter, when the Lithuanians went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 29-21.
The lead kept growing in the second half, with coach Kemzura giving all players a chance to appear on the court. However, it could be the last game in the national team this summer for a couple of players, as Renaldas Seibutis and Simas Jasaitis will rejoin the training camp once again.
Jonas Maciulis led all scorers with 19 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 7 rebounds, Linas Kleiza added 13, while Marytnas Pocius chipped in with 12 for Lithuania.
For the Dominican Republic, Jack Martinez had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, Al Horford collected 12 points, despite making only 4-of-13 shots from the field, as Francisco Garcia contributed with 11.