Leiden upsets Oostende and sets up an all-Dutch BNXT Final

Heroes Den Bosch and Filou Oostende seemed to have created a good starting position in the first game of the semi-finals of the BNXT play-offs to reach the final. Donar and Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden thought otherwise. Donar won by 100-101 in the Maaspoort against Heroes Den Bosch. Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden inflicted first home defeat of Filou Oostende by winning with 78-88.

Leiden upsets Oostende

Filou Oostende – Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden 78-88 (82-84)

Many people gave Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden little chance after its two-point victory at home. Filou Oostende, however, would be able to put that right. Besides, the Belgian champion was still unbeaten at home. However, the Leiden players and coaches thought otherwise.

Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden got off to a flying start. An and-1 by Arunas Mikalauskas and two scores by Einaras Tubutis made it 0-7 within two minutes, and Oostende coach Dario Gjergja had to call a time-out. Filou Oostende came back for a moment, mainly through Keye van der Vuurst de Vries, but Worthy de Jong put his team back on a 10-20 lead. However, Filou Oostende came back and was only down three points after ten minutes of play: 27-30.

In the second quarter, Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden’s lead grew to 27-36. At that moment, Oostende’s American import Demitrius Conger stepped up. The American started to score continuously. Moreover, Filou Oostende’s defense was sound, as the visitors did not score again in the last four minutes until halftime. With a three-pointer, Pierre-Antoine Gillet made it 46-46 at halftime.

After the break, the game remained the same. Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden remained scoreless for four minutes, while Filou Oostende, via Conger and Phil Booth, made it 61-48. In the last four minutes of the third quarter, the momentum shifted to Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden. With a 3-18 run, Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden closed the third quarter with a 64-66 lead.

Gillet still tied the game at the start of the fourth quarter, but after that, Zorg en Zekerheid slowly faded away. Van der Vuurst de Vries and Conger tried to keep their team in the race, but the experienced Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden didn’t let the ever-growing lead slip out of their hands. In the end, it was 78-88 and the season was over for Filou Oostende.

Demitrius Conger accounted for 27 points, and Keye van der Vuurst de Vries finished with 16 points. At Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden, Worthy de Jong scored 31 points. Jhonathan Dunn scored 16 points. Einaras Tubutis had a double-double with 10 points and ten rebounds.

Donar Groningen – Heroes Den Bosch 100-101 (68-68)

Donar Groningen was able to take revenge for the loss in the semifinal of the Dutch playoffs by beating Heroes Den Bosch 101-100 on the road in the BNXT playoff semifinals.

As in the first game, the first quarter showed no difference between both teams. It is Heroes Den Bosch that can make the first gap at 13-8, which forces Matthew Otten to his first time-out. Shane Hammink then scored 16-8 and Donar could start chasing. They did so point by point, but the Northerners managed to tie the score at the end of the first quarter, 19-19.

In the second quarter, it was the same game. The lead changed almost with every score. Clay Mounce scored again for Heroes Den Bosch, and for Donar Groningen, the points came from Austin Luke and Thomas Koenis. At 36-37, Matthew Otten took another time-out. This brought his own team a bit more out of rhythm than the opponent because Heroes Den Bosch opened a gap of six points: 47-41. But Donar fought back so that by halftime, there was almost no difference between the two teams: 47-46.

Marquis Addison put Donar Groningen ahead 47-51 after the break. Donar Groningen took the lead and thanks to a technical foul by Erik Braal and the used free throw by Addison (25 points this evening against 70%) they are up 53-56. In a span of about two to three minutes, seven players were allowed to go to the free-throw line and the score was 73-72 in favor of Heroes Den Bosch. But then Donar started the fourth quarter with a three-point lead (75-78).

In the fourth quarter, it was the same game again. Nobody could make the difference and from 83-80, it became 85-85 and 87-87. Then Austin Luke (31 points this evening) hit two three-pointers to give Donar a six-point lead: 87-93. In the remainder of the game, Donar maintained this lead, although it became tight in the end. With 3.6 seconds left, Austin Price knocked in a three-pointer for Heroes Den Bosch for 100-101, but Braal’s team got no further this evening.

Clay Mounce scored 23 points for Heroes Den Bosch. Edon Maxhuni and Thomas van der Mars were both good for 20 points. Maxhuni also handed out 7 assists. Austin Luke led Donar with 31 points and nine assists.

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