It’s do or die for Donar and Landstede Hammers on Saturday night. Both teams are trailing 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Dutch playoffs in the BNXT League and must try to stay alive on foreign soil. Heroes Den Bosch and Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden will have to finish the job at home.
By: Rob de Keijzer & Martin Hoekstra
Photo: Gerrie van der Boom
Heroes Den Bosch – Donar Groningen (2-0)
After Heroes Den Bosch also won the second game in this semi-final of the playoffs, Donar will be eager to finish Saturday’s game in Den Bosch. In a reaction after the game Matthew Otten, coach of Donar, said that they are still “still alive” and Donar now has to win three games in a row. Whether that will happen as easily as said, remains to be seen. He also indicated that he thought his team had done a good job of eliminating the duo Edon Maxhuni-Austin Price. Luckily for Heroes Den Bosch, Shane Hammink (20 points) and Clay Mounce (13 points) stood up at that moment and with their three-pointers and strong play ensured that the men from Den Bosch led for almost the entire game. Late in the second half, Price also came through with his scores, ending the game with 16 points.
For the second game in a row, Donar had no answer to the (zone) defence of Heroes Den Bosch. Erik Braal had his team in good shape and Donar’s shots from outside (8 out of 30 three-pointers) were again not good enough. The number of turnovers on the Groningen side was much better than in the first game, but still, especially in the final phase when the team was getting closer, some balls were simply thrown away. If Donar really wants to have a chance, it will have to be more careful with these kind of passes, especially in crunch time. Heroes Den Bosch can continue to build on the last two games and go into the third game full of confidence. For Donar, they will have to come up with a plan to win again, otherwise the chance of a Dutch championship is gone and a confrontation with Hubo Limburg United or Spirou Basket Charleroi awaits them in the third round of the BNXT playoffs.
Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden – Landstede Hammers Zwolle (2-0)
Landstede Hammers has its back against the wall. The team of coach Herman van den Belt will have to win three games in a row to reach the finals of the Dutch championship. Two of those three games are in the Vijf Meihal, which for many teams is an impregnable fortress. Add to that the fact that Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden’s injured star players are returning one by one. Worthy de Jong already played on Thursday night and Arunas Mikalauskas looks like he will be able to make minutes on Saturday.
Landstede Hammers mainly played the trump card Noah Dahlman in the home game. The experienced American scored 30 points, which was much better than his play in the first game. Thorir Thorbjarnarson also asserted himself a bit more, but it was simply not enough to win. Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden needed two runs to get back on the bus with a 79-89 victory. Jhonathan Dunn was once again a fighter (25 points this time). Asbjørn Midtgaard played a moderate first half with only one point, but recovered in the second half. In it Maarten Bouwknecht and Luuk van Bree performed well and Peter Olisemeka dominated the rebounding.
At Landstede, several players have failed to show up so far. Especially from experienced players like Mike Schilder (Thursday only 2 points) and Ralf de Pagter (Thursday only 0 points and 2 rebounds) one should expect more. If that does not change tomorrow, Landstede Hammers can continue to focus on the BNXT playoffs, where they will most certainly have to face Telenet Giants Antwerp.