The players of Erasmus Baros Basketball Club scored an important victory over Almonte in the final four play-offs last Saturday. In front of a sizeable crowd at the Woudestein sports centre, the women’s team convincingly defeated their opponents, 64-53. They will take on Almonte again in Eindhoven on Saturday.

The stakes were high in the game. The winner, on aggregate, of two games will contest the play-offs final in Zwolle, where it will take on either De Groene Uilen [The Green Owls] from Groningen or DAS from Delft. The winner will be promoted to the Women’s Basketball League, the premier division of Dutch women’s basketball.

Furious start

Even so, Baros did not seem the slightest bit nervous. The players got off to a furious start and quickly took the lead, leading their opponents by twelve points at one stage. They could have been even farther ahead, because Almonte scored from a counter attack after Baros missed two penalties just before the end of the first quarter, making the score 20-11 rather than 22-9.

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The players fight for the ball, symbolic for the Titanic struggle which ensued during the match

Titanic struggle

The end of the first quarter appeared to be a reversal of fortunes. In the second quarter, Almonte upped the ante and soon gained ground, narrowing the score gap to a mere four points. A true Titanic struggle now ensued, in which both teams, loudly cheered on by the crowd, gave it their all. In the dying minutes of the third quarter, Baros once again widened the score gap, turning its three-point lead into an eight-point lead.

Both teams played increasingly hard, and Almonte was getting increasingly frustrated with the referee. The Eindhoven fans who had made the journey to Rotterdam were now getting increasingly vocal. Again, though, it was Baros which ended the quarter in style, thus making the final score 64-53. A well-deserved victory, because the Rotterdam team were on the right side of the score line for the entire duration of the game.

‘Proud of the team’

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Baros’ victorious team after the game

It was quite the achievement, because Baros, ranked fourth after the regular season, were defeated by first-ranked Almonte in two out of three of their regular competition games. However, according to coach Selma Rooseboom, those defeats were due to carelessness rather than a lack of quality. “Those defeats were due to weak starts to those games. That’s why we knew we could defeat this opponent, provided that we were fully focused on the game right from the start.”

MVP Tété Bartelds said she was ‘proud of the team’. “We played a very good defensive game. I think our main achievement was that we remained calm, even when our opponent quickly began to catch up. Next week we’ll have to work similarly hard as a team. We can afford to lose that game by a ten-point margin, but we should go to Eindhoven intending to win the game.”