The NF1 final four came to an end with two games. The first game, also known as the bronze medal match, was between the losers of the semi-finals.
Charleville and Armentières had no intention of leaving Nantes-Rezé empty handed and played out a match full of suspense. The game went to the wire with Charleville holding on to win by a single point (67-66).
The final also went to the wire with Marion Laborde hitting the winner from beyond the arc practically at the buzzer for Basket Landes to beat Nantes-Rezé for the third time this season and become 2007-2008 NF1 champions.
Basket Landes left it late but walked off with the title
Basket Landes can claim to have swept Nantes-Rezé this season, with two victories during the regular season and then in the NF1 final four final. The two teams had an intense battle for 40 minutes with the game winning shot hitting the target with just 0.2 seconds left on the game clock.
Marion Laborde landed her fifth three-pointer of the evening (she finished with 5-of-9 in this exercise) to hand her side the victory. She may have been the hero of the moment but the player of the match and the MVP of the final four was Anaïs Le Gluher (No: 8 in picture above)who led the scoring with 23 points.
The story of the match
The game got off to a brisk start with very little time for observation as Le Gluher for Basket Landes and Inga Kvasnika (Left) for Nantes-Rezé got the scoreboard rolling. With the score at (9-8) in favour of Basket Landes, it appeared that a high scoring game was on the guards.
Basket Landes started to find the going difficult. They fell behind as Agnieska Cieslak and Babette M'Bah got the home crowd on their feet as they took control of the game and led (18-13) by the end of the first period.
Basket Landes have a habit of hunting in packs of three when things are not going their way. With Elisabeth Montero joining forces with Laborde and Le Gluher, Nantes' advantage was reduced to a single point (26-25) within three minutes of the second quarter.
Sandrine Ronot attempted a Nantes offensive but her joy was short lived as Le Gluher tied the game (29-29). If this was not enough, Simon Guillou, Nantes' head coach picked up a technical foul after his complaints to the officials was deamed excessive.
Basket Landes used the free-throws given as a result of the technical to take the lead briefly. Nantes managed to regain their composure and went into the locker room with the lead (34-31).
Laborde (in picture) hit a trey to bring the teams level at the start of the third period (34-34). Thereafter the two sides matched each other basket for basket, foul for foul as neither of them was able to take control. Nantes was still in front (46-44) and appeared to have made the decisive break when their captain Marie Vicente Santa Cruz came up with some magic. She dished out a couple of assists and made a steal for the home side to close the period on a high to take a 6-point lead into the final period (50-44).
The last quarter was just a battle. Basket Landes, having to chase the game, took more risks and with three minutes left in the game Nantes were back to a single point lead (56-55).
Nantes were not having the best of days from beyond the arc but when M'Bah landed one of them (59-55) just as the match entered money-time the home fans were on their feet.
Tiredness was creeping in fast and Nantes appeared to suffer it more as they gave the ball away on two occasions. This resulted in Le Gluher scoring.
Nantes still held on to their advantage but it was Basket Landes that had the last play and with the clock running down Marion Laborde hit three-pointer number five and Basket Landes snatched the title off the hosts.
It took a little over a minute for the first points to go onto the board. Then Charleville put their foot on the accelerator and went into an early lead (9-4). Afterwards Armentières profited on a drop of intensity from their opponents to go in front (14-12).
In a lively first period Charleville regained the lead and finished it in front (22-19).
Clarisse Mercier continued to find spaces to make passes and Charleville stretched their advantage (31-24). Charleville was not able to convert their dominance into points. So Armentières started to erode the deficit. By the interval Charleville's lead was down to 1 point (36-35).
The third period was all about defence as both sides attempted to shut each other out. Charleville had the upper hand in terms of possession but only led by 2 points (49-47) when the game entered the final period.
Charleville's perseverance paid off as they hit their opponents (7-2) in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Then after it was a case of pacing themselves (56-49). This was achieved with Stéphanie Cailleux and Sarra Ouergh scoring points and countering the offensive efforts of Rachel Coumba.
Charleville never really looked comfortable and Armentières came to within 2 points (63-65) as the game entered money-time. But they were not able to draw level, leaving the bronze medal for Charleville.