Engelstalig verslag van een zinderende wedstrijd
Battle at Nijkerk; DAS beats Sparta in overtime!
March 31, 2018 - Sparta Nijkerk vs DAS Delft
#1 ranked DAS played #4 Sparta in Nijkerk. With a short-handed team due to recent injuries, DAS could only bring 6 healthy players to the game. Controlling the game’s tempo, and staying out of foul trouble was the message going into the game. That combined with concentration should have resulted in an easy victory for DAS, given Sparta’s current ranking.
DAS starts as planned, within 3 minutes the score is 2-8 with easy buckets from Simon, Marc & Milo (2). But Sparta recovers quick, led by Jochem van de Veen scoring 8 in the quarter, and fights it way back to a 17-14 lead. DAS receives its first warning, Sparta is not to be underestimated.
Struggling from the arc, it takes DAS deep in the 2nd quarter before Joren hits the 1st 3 pointer, a tested weapon that won us many victories. Meanwhile Sparta keeps on scoring with drives and shots from the perimeter. Having a full bench is helping the home team as well, and the crowd is starting to believe in what would be an upset. DAS tries to regain control, but despite using 2 time outs, Sparta is calling the shots, leaving DAS running behind the facts. 31-25 for the hometeam.
With only 6 points behind DAS is starting the 2nd half full of confidence, thinking to make the difference right now. But still the shots refuse to go for DAS while Sparta keeps on scoring. Everything seems to go against DAS who collectively receive 7 fouls versus 4 for Sparta. Two time outs cannot prevent Sparta to score 18 points and keeping DAS to a season low of 9 in the 3rd. Similar to the 1st, DAS fails to hit a single 3 pointer. Sparta extends its leads to 49-34.
With 15 behind starting the 4th quarter, DAS is fighting an uphill battle. Within 5 seconds, Sparta is even extending their lead to 17 points, and DAS needs to dig deep to turn it around. With fast ball rotation followed by a couple of inside drives by Marc, Simon, Dylan & Ilia, DAS starts on an impressive run. With the pressure inside, finally our long range shooters also start to fall. The collective effort and scoring is turning the game around, but Sparta cannot be stopped from scoring (16 in Q4). With less than 20 seconds to play, Sparta is still ahead by 4 points when Joren nails a 3. In the struggle following, Joren picks up his 5P, and Sparta decides to go for a quick layup, bringing the lead back to 3 points leaving only 4 seconds on the play clock. Down to only 5 players now, DAS looks ironically like the 300 Spartans during the battle of Thermopylae. DAS needs another 3 to be saved, and during the time-out Milo makes very clear that he will take this shot. As the players go back into the field, coach Rienk comments “Today is a good day for overtime Milo” and off we go. The inbound pass is good, Marc & Dylan are setting the screens while Milo shakes of an opponent and dribbles to his favorite spot behind the arc and goes up in the air to bank it in the buzzer to force overtime. 65-65 leaves the local crowd baffled and silent at first, and then applauding for the spectacle not normal to Nijkerk on a Saturday afternoon!
Going into overtime, the momentum is with DAS. But as both teams are in foul trouble, as are several of the last 5 for DAS on the field, we cannot afford a single mistake on defense. Given the strong inside game of Sparta, they make 2 buckets and we have to foul twice (Simon (4P), and Ilia (4P). The resulting 4 free throws result in only 2 points. Against that DAS has a now on-fire Milo Namysl, scoring 2 3-pointers and a 2 pointer out of 3 attempts. The last 70 seconds of the game, DAS dribbles and passes the ball leaving no doubt as to who are the winners! Final score 71-73.
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