BY DANIEL DONOVAN | This past weekend, BK Žabiny hosted the final four for the Central Europe Women’s League. In this final four was our own BK Žabiny, Sokol Nilfisk Hradec Králové from the Czech Republic, Piešťanské Čajky from Slovakia and Young Angels Košice from Slovakia. This final four weekend would determine who would become the newest champion of the CEWL.
The first game of the weekend featured our own BK Žabiny taking on Piešťanské Čajky on Saturday, Febuary 23 at 15:00. Even though we trailed for large portions of the game, we managed to keep it close. Our largest lead of the game was 3-points which we achieved during the second period on a Karolína Malečková three pointer. Once we took that lead, Piešťanské Čajky stormed back with a 14-6 run to make us trail 30-35 at halftime. To start the second half, the game was back and forth but midway through the third period Piešťanské Čajky went on a 7-0 run which pushed their lead to a game high 11 points. For the rest of the game, the girls were fighting to get back into the match. We got very close in the 4th quarter as another Karolína Malečková 3-pointer made us trail by only onepoint with 1:25 left to play. Unfortunately, those were the last points we scored in the game and the ladies wound up losing 60-67. That meant we would be playing in the bronze medal game at 15:00 on Sunday while the opposition, Piešťanské Čajky would play in the final at 18:00 on Sunday.
The second match on Sunday was much less eventful than the first one. This match featured Sokol Nilfisk Hradec Králové taking on Young Angels Košice. This game started out fast paced and high scoring as the first period ended with a score of 21-16 in favor of Sokol Nilfisk Hradec Králové. The second period was also high scoring as both teams scored over 23 points, as Sokol pushed their lead to a respectable 11 points at halftime. The game suddenly changed in the third quarter as Sokol blew Young Angels out of the water by outscoring them 26-6. This meant that entering the fourth quarter Sokol held a 31-point lead over their opponent. With the game seemingly won, Sokol took their foot off the accelerator as Young Angels actually outscored them 17-14 in the fourth. However, their lead was insurmountable and Sokol won the game 90-62 which punched their ticket to the championship game on Sunday. This meant that our opponent for the bronze medal game would be Young Angels.
At 15:00 on Sunday the bronze medal game tipped off in our home arena. The ladies got off to a fantastic start as we jumped out to a quick 21-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Kateřina Zohnová putting up 7 points. The second period was much of the same as we went on a 14-6 run throughout the quarter. At halftime, we had a 35-14 lead on the Young Angels with Zohnová increasing her scoring output to 10 points and Michaela Vacková picking up 5 rebounds. The scoring output evened out in the second half, as we only outscored Young Anglels by one in the third quarter. But by this point in the game the ladies already had a large lead on them and we did not need to continuously pour on points. The fourth period was the highest scoring one in the game as both teams scored over 20 points. Once the final whistle blew, we had ourselves a 24 point win and the bronze medal. Four of our players scored double digits as Kateřina Zohnová and Nikola Dudášová both had 14 points while Justina Matuzonyté had 10 points and 9 rebounds and Natálie Stoupalová had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Overall the ladies dominated Young Angels and deserved to win the bronze medal in that game.
The championship game which tipped off at 18:00 on Sunday was a good matchup between Sokol Nilfisk Hradec Králové and Piešťanské Čajky. It was a close game throughout as the largest lead of the game was only 9 points. The first quarter belonged to Piešťanské Čajky as they jumped out to a 24-16 lead after 10 minutes of play. Sokol would not go down without a fight as they clawed their way back into the game during the second quarter as they only trailed by 3 heading into halftime. With 6:06 left in the game, Sokol took a 3-point lead, but that was quickly overtaken by a 16-5 run from Piešťanské Čajky. As the third quarter ended, Piešťanské Čajky held an 8-point advantage. The closest Sokol got to the lead in the 4th was a four-point deficit, but they could never get any closer. The final score was 60-54 in favor of Piešťanské Čajky as they became the Central Europe Women’s League champions.