Amateur basketball at Illkirch-Graffenstaden has reached another milestone
25 April 2009 will enter in the history book of the SIG Amateur basketball section because of the qualification of Illkirch Graffenstaden for the NF1 final four.
They had to face Pleyber-Christ who are already mathematically relegated but were fighting to gain the best position for re-election at the end of the season.
Pleyber-Christ based a lot of their preparation on stopping Allison Verneray that they forgot about the not so secret weapons of the SIG in Darline Nsoki and Claire Nussbaumer.
Making history in Finistère
Pleyber-Christ got off to a flying start and scored the first 6 points of the game.
But then they were stopped as Nsoki scored 5 points (2+3) and Céline Schmitt-Sender fired in a three-pointer for the SIG to lead (8-6).
Pleyber-Christ tied the game almost immediately but Nsoki and Schmitt put the SIG back in control and by the time Verneray scored her first and only points of the first half the match the SIG led (15-10).
Pleyber-Christ have good supporters who got behind their team for them to quickly score a couple of baskets.
Their joy was short lived as Nussbaumer (left) opened her account by back to back scores (20-14).
Alexandra Thos was not happy in allowing the guests to dominate and managed to fire in a three-pointer and draw a foul at the same time.
She coolly scored the free-throw and the SIG's advantage at the end of the first period was only 2 points (20-18).
Brona Soltisova who was active early in the game levelled the score for the last time in the game (20-20).
The SIG players did not need to look at the face of their coach to know what he was thinking. They changed their approach and scored 7 quick points to lead (27-20).
Phillipe Breitenbacher (right) the head coach from the SIG was still not happy and more changes were made.
The SIG started to hit their shots and their lead grew (38-26).
Pleyber-Christ made things difficult for themselves as they managed to hit the target only 13 times in 40 attempts during the first half.
All this worked in favour of the SIG as they went into the interval (45-32).
The game came to an end as a contest during the third period as the SIG dominated all sectors of the game to increase their advantage (73-44).
The SIG did not play that well during the final period which allowed Pleyber-Christ to bring some respectability to the final score line.
Illkirch-Graffenstaden won (85-64) with Nussbaumer leading the scoring with 19 points, Sender-Schmitt scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds.
Nsoki finished the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
For Pleyber-Christ Thos led the scoring with 13 points while Céline Lix-Boubala led the team in rebounds and assists with 6 and 7.
Not the best game the SIG have played this season but once again they have shown that they have a strong roster. It will be interesting to see what secret weapon shows up next week.
What does this mean for the president of the SIG Amateur section?
The other results of the evening means that the SIG at worst will finish third. If they win their remaining two games and Limoges lose they could end up winning the NF1 regular season.
However the SIG is an Amateur basketball club in the real sense for the women playing basketball at the club. Some of the players have full time jobs. But the remaining players are students and some of them may be called up to represent France at the World Student Games.
The head coach Philipe Breitenbucher like his older players has a full time job outside basketball. It is very unlikely that the club would take promotion to the LFB if they are to win the regular season or the NF1 play-off. Yet it is something that they may start thinking about.
The SIG are lucky that they have a banker as president. We can only guess that he is looking at the structure of Basket Landes:
Basket Landes have managed to move quickly from an Amateur basketball structure to professional and despite the difficulties they have survived this season. Their U18 team have qualified for the U18 French Cup and may also qualify for the U18 final four.