By Yuri Karpenko
Minsk’s Palace of Sports saw Horizont (Group B) defeat Spartak Noginsk (Russia), sending them to the play-offs, in first place. The success of Anatoly Buyalsky’s trainees was only doubted by the most extreme of sceptics since, in the first quarter, Horizont created a nice gap of 10-12 points, which it kept until the final whistle. Their opponents tried hard to equalise, narrowing the score from time to time, but Horizont ended with a confident victory. Its core players (members of Belarus’ national basketball team) were Tatiana Likhtarovich, Yulia Dureiko, Natalia Anufrienko and Victoria Gasper, who fully controlled play. The final score of 89:77 followed Horizont’s earlier defeat of Spartak in an away match and Romanian club Craiova.
Horizont is a well-known basketball name, famed from Soviet times. It has given birth to several legendary female basketballers, including Olympic champions. Several years ago, it vanished from the basketball arena but, in 2010, was revived, following the success of our national team (which finished fourth at the recent World Championship). Logically, both teams are coached by Anatoly Buyalsky, who sees Horizont as a serious project. The team is striving to win the national championship and gain fame in Europe. “In the near future, we aim to reach the final four within the Eurocup; another target is to qualify for the Euroleague,” he emphasises. Besides participating in elite events, Horizont plans to hold several ‘show’ matches in Minsk.
Meanwhile, another squad from Minsk — Minsk-2006 — has also reached the play-offs of the Eurocup: a notable achievement. Sergey Svetnik’s trainees (Group G) twice lost to Dynamo Moscow but, at home, beat Cyprus’ AEK. In the decisive final match of the qualification round, Minsk-2006 beat Cyprus away with a comfortable 81:53, commencing the next round from second position.