What a celebration in Ragusa, Virtus promoted to national B

Flashes of great Virtus, combined with boundless pride, allow Ragusa to return to the world of great basketball: the 74-72 victory over Italservice Pesaro, in game 3 of the play-off, earned them promotion to the National Serie B. A near success in the Conference final against Capo d’Orlando and arrived a couple of weeks later, at the end of a series that was exhausting from a technical and mental point of view. Race-3 is as anomalous as the first two: there is tiredness, there is tension, but above all hunger, which allows Recupido’s boys to overcome other difficulties (the fouls against Gaetano) and get as enthusiastic as in his best versions .

Virtus manages the initial anxiety better: Gaetano’s triple and Vavoli’s defensive stand give them their first lead (7-4 in the 4th minute). Then the Virtus big man commits his second foul, Recupido draws Piscetta from the bench: it’s a lucky “catch” worth four points in a row and the lead to 13-6 (great assist from Cioppa). Brown scores two free throws and the game, however, changes face. Martinez takes over with six consecutive points; then a triple by Rupil, and two more free throws by Martinez to complete a run of 0-11 (closed only by a basket by Sorrentino). Martinez’s circus shot, at the siren of the first quarter, gives Pesaro +4.

Ragusa desperately needs easy baskets. Simon unblocks himself from the bow. Then Italservice scores another 0-6 break and Recupido stops the match: 20-27 at 13′. Vavoli scores two comfortable points from an attacking throw-in and gets the crowd into the game. Battisti pots the triple for Pesaro’s new maximum lead at 22-31. The game doesn’t find any rhythm due to the numerous referee whistles (we’re already at 22, eleven on each side, halfway through the quarter). Virtus takes advantage of the good free throws to return to within a possession. Vavoli scores from below but it is Simon’s triple from the corner that turns everything around: 33-31. The basket of an immense Vavoli at the siren gives a small point back to Virtus, who have also grown in defensive application: 36-35 at 20′.

Virtus started strong after the break, but Gaetano’s fourth foul complicated the plans. Back and forth between Vavoli and Martinez, the most important baskets, however, are those of Brown: two triples definitively unblock the American and force Foglietti to take an immediate timeout: 52-43 at 25′. The PalaPadua becomes incandescent. Piscetta widens the gap: +11 Ragusa. Sorrentino punishes the delays of the visiting defense with a triple, Pesaro tries to cling to the match with physicality and free throws. At the last half-time, Virtus took a 9-point margin.

Simon’s triple brings the people of Virtus to their feet, then a few empty turns in attack allow Pesaro to get closer in the score: 62-55 in the 33rd minute. A monstrous dunk by Marcus Brown, with a foul by the defense, erases a few minutes of fear. Italservice has the merit of not giving up: they stay focused, make up for their mistakes and with Casoni come back twice to -5. Maruca and Casoni again are one step away from closing the comeback: 67-66 with 2’52” on the clock. Recupido Timeout. Despite Brown’s basket, which gives Virtus a full possession advantage, everything remains in the balance. In the last minute of the match, turnovers were the protagonists. The referees report an unsportsmanlike mid-court foul for captain Sorrentino: Rupil manages the two free throws perfectly and possession remains with Pesaro with only one point to recover (71-70). Foul by Ianelli, Cipriani scores 0/2 on the line. Italservice commits a foul on Gaetano with 13″ left: 2/2 and 73-70. Sorrentino steals the ball in defense, suffers another foul and the party can begin. With the players embraced by the fans and signing the basket to remember this historic moment of Iblea basketball.


Virtus Ragusa-Italservice Loreto Pesaro 74-72

Virtus Ragusa: Brown 20, Piscetta 8, Epifani 2, Cioppa 2, Simon 12, Tumino ne, Vavoli 10, Sorrentino 7, Gaetano 13, Mirabella ne, Calvi ne, Ianelli. All.: Recupido

Italservice Loreto Pesaro: Rupil 9, Lovisotto 4, Cevolini ne, Battisti 8, Cipriani 2, Maruca 13, Tombari ne, Tognacci, Broglia 2, Martinez 26, Casoni 8. Coaches: Foglietti

Referees: Rosé and Collura di Roma

Partial: 17-21; 36-35; 59-50.

Note. Out for five fouls: Simon (W), Broglia, Martinez (I)

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