In their fight to stay in the LFB next season Hainaut Basket have taken the first step in the right direction by winning against local rival Arras (72-64) in the match-up between the bottom two clubs of the ligue.
Although both teams have identical records, Hainaut Basket's victory put them ahead in terms of aggregate score. This means that Arras must win at least one game more than Hainaut to move in front of them in the final standings.
With no guarantee that two teams are promoted from LF2 next season it is possible that a 13th place finish may still be good enough to avoid relegation. So Hainaut Basket's win may be their best LFB victory of the season.
With all the tension leading up to this game, the match itself was not very good and lacked the derby spirit of previous encounters between the clubs.
All the same Hainaut were faster out of the starting block than their opponents and led (7-0) with three minutes played. The rest of the first quarter turned into a festival of missed chances.
Luckily for Arras Dawn Evans and Johanne Gomis-Halilovic were able to hit a couple of long distance shots to keep the first-quarter score respectable (10-13).
Iffy Ibekwe from Hainaut Basket was a handful for Arras. She bashed her way at both ends of the court and even showed that she can shoot from long distance with a nice three-pointer.
Arras were not having much luck offensively with Pauline Akonga-Nsimbo going 0-of-9 from the floor in the first half. However with free trips to the charity stripe and a highly motivated Aurélie Carmona with 6 second-quarter points they trailed by just 1 point at the break (30-31).
Within five minutes of the third quarter Hainaut Basket appeared to be running away with the game (43-34) until a full court press by their guests stopped them.
Arras, led by Carmona and Dawn Evans, reduced the deficit to 2 points (44-46) with 29 minutes on the LFB game clock.
The momentum was to turn in favour of Hainaut Basket for good at the end of the third quarter. Although Amanda Jackson missed a three-point attempt, the ball was picked up acrobatically by Ibekwe and then trown back in on the buzzer.
Hainaut led (50-44) going into the final quarter and pushed the advantage up to 13 points at one stage. Yet Carmona - handicapped by 4 fouls - was not ready for Arras to lose and continued her festival in the paint in a perfect shooting day (7-of-7).
Arras were back in the game trailing by
just 2 points (61-63) with two minutes to play. However their luck was to
run out with Carmona (in picture) fouling out of the game with 1:55 to play.
Jackon and Ashley Houts from Hainaut were then free to cause havoc and not only to secure
the victory but more importantly the aggregate score win.
one funny moment of the match in the final minutes involved Jackson who
attempted to avoid a five-second violation by calling a time-out (an old
habit from playing basketball in the USA, but this is not a rule used in the
Hainaut Basket: Laura Garcia 6, Carine Paul 4,
Ashley Houts 15 (4 assists), Marie-Frédérique Ayissi 2, Ify Ibekwe 17
(14 rebounds), Amanda Jackson 16, Petra Stampalija 12
Arras: Tatsiana Likhtarovich DNP, Elodie Mendy DNP, Mamignan Touré 0, Johanne Gomis-Halilovic 5, Aurélie Carmona 17, Krissy Bade 7, Sandra Dijon-Gérardin 2, Pauline Akonga N'Simbo 2, Olesia Malashenko 11, Dawn Evans 18
Date created: 10 February 2013
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