A tough match was ahead for the gents of Arriba when they were facing the top 3 team of B.V. Groningen. When I arrived in the hall the clock was at 15 minutes and there was no sign of the opponent, the advantage of the Enschede inaccessibility were already showing. But, after an extension of the clock, there they were: five players of B.V. Groningen, all in red and ready to go. Surprisingly their team stayed at five, while Arriba was eight men strong. Ten minutes later than planned the game started with Arriba’s starting five: Gijs, Alvaro, Silver, Arno and captain Dimitry.
After the opening score of Silver, Dimitry shot a deep three to extend the lead. The pace was high on both sides, Groningen had no intention of backing off to preserve energy and made some scores of their own. This caused Arno to work hard on defense, but already picked up his second foul in the third minute. He was quickly subbed by Rens who kept the pace high. After some nice plays of the screens and splitting of the defense by Silver a Time-Out was called halfway through the quarter. The teams continued to go head to head until Arriba experienced difficulties at the end of the quarter, leaving B.V. Groningen ahead with a score of 21-22.
The second quarter started slow but steady, with a notable slow-motion attempt to keep the ball in the court of Klaas which showed the determination of our men, and the reaction speed of our boy Klaas (the ball was already out of bounds). After some tough minutes, Alvaro managed to make a nice bucket (and one!) in the paint and Arriba was improving their defense resulting in steals from Rens and a fast break from Dimitry for easy points. Groningen came back with a fast break of their own, but Dimitry would have none of it and blocked the attempt at the last moment. Still Groningen kept the pressure up and was slowly increasing their lead. In the 9th minute a fast offense ensued where Silver passed his defender by an amazing hesitation dribble resulting in an easy lay-up. It almost seemed he was alone there, since the other nine players had not even passed the Free Throw line! The teams went into half-time with a score of 31-39.
Our men went into the third quarter with more determination, and already in the second minute Arriba forced a 24 second violation resulting in a Time-Out from the opponent. Arriba however kept on going and the gents were determined to fight back into the game. In the fourth minute Silver threw a slingshot pass across the court into Dimitry’s 1-2 lay-up rhythm and quickly after this Arno did a behind the head pass to Alvaro for some more buckets in the paint. The lead was now back into Arriba’s hands at 42-41, but the game was far from over. Groningen returned fire with a barrage of threes resulting in a 47-51 score going into the fourth quarter.
The moment of truth: the final quarter started with Alvaro, Rens, Klaas, Arno and Gijs. The first couple of minutes were uneventful until Gijs and Alvaro played a beautiful Give and Go to open the score. The difference was shrinking, but Arriba was also picking up team fouls along the way. Arno picked up his fourth and halfway through the quarter Arriba stood at four team fouls. This proved to make things difficult in the end. But our men continued, Silver again split the defense as an Estonian knife through butter and Klaas showed his spin-to-win-move under the bucket: 53-55. It was now a close game, and every point counted. However fouls were still made at Arriba’s side now leading to free throws for the opponent, who did not miss. After a nice set-up Silver drained a three to bring the score back to 58-62, but unfortunately it would not improve further. While trying to force the score in the final minutes, many shots were missed and Arriba missed focus to close the gap. Final score: 58-64.