The KK Split basketball team has started well into this year’s semi-final play-offs of the Croatian Championships against Dalmatian rival KK Zadar. Both teams only needed 2 games to pass through the quarter-finals where Zadar eliminated Zabok and Split went through Škrljevo.
With well-rested and complete squads, the debut game was played in front of a very supportive atmosphere. Additionally to the regular supporters, 50 kids of K.K. Solin’s youth teams were invited as special guests and became witnesses to a high-level display from both sides. While all players started the game a little nervously and with a focus not to make mistakes, the defensive effort and intensity were at 100% right from the start.
The Yellows were able to rely on Shannon Shorter again as so often this season to give them confidence. The American guard scored the first five points for the home team and was always there with important points and eight rebounds when the game was close. The team from Zadar on the other side needed Justin Carter to contribute 16 points in order to stop the game from being decided early.
The guests made every effort to keep the game close and even had a few leads during the game and tied the game in the final quarter at 62:62 with five minutes left to play. However, Shannon Shorter was not the only sharpshooter in a yellow uniform tonight. Toni Perković’s 22 points coming off the bench and hitting 6 of 10 tries from three-point land were just too much for guest coach Vladimir Anzulović’s team to digest.
“We made an important step and finally played the home game against Zadar at the right level. After six or seven minutes of nervousness, we stabilized. I think that was the decisive factor that we kept the game under control,” said the coach of Split, Srdjan Subotic to sum up the evening.
The first game of the best of 3 series bears great importance as from now on reigning champion Zadar is already with their backs to the wall. Split could finish the series with an away win in Zadar on Monday but even if they should lose in Zadar, they would have another shot at home.
Result by quarters: 74:64 (18:22, 21:13, 16:17, 19:12).
Referees: Josip Radojković, Alfred Jovović and Martin Vulić.
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