Men's basketball league playoff final – 4th match: BK Opava – BK ARMEX Děčín, June 1, 2023, Opava. The players of Opava are rejoicing at the championship title.
Opava – Opava basketball players are celebrating their fifth league title after 20 years. They won the fourth final over Děčín 108:104 after extra time and won the series 3:1 in games. Coach Petr Czudek's men triumphed for the first time since 2003 and after eighteen golds in a row over Nymburk, which they eliminated in the semi-finals on their way to the preliminary round of the playoffs. They thus secured participation in the Champions League. Děčín was in the final for the fifth time and, just like in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, he had to settle for silver.
Opava captain Jakub Šiřina scored 31 points, the best scorer of the match, in front of a season-record attendance of 3,325 spectators. He added six assists and four rebounds and was also named the finals series MVP. Slezáné reached the league throne from the preliminary round and only from the seventh position, the lowest for the future champion in history.
Neither Matěj Svoboda with 25 points nor Ty Nichols, the author of a double double with 23 points, helped Děčín extend the series to the decisive fifth duel 11 assists.
“We wrote a fairy tale from the realm of dreams. We beat the first, second, third… We came from seventh place and made a miracle out of a totally miserable season. If someone had told us that after the regular season or after the extension, we would probably send him to Olomoucka to crazy. But we managed to get our form right at the right time and we played great basketball throughout the playoffs,” Šiřina told reporters.
Czudek, the coach of the new champions, experienced a lot of emotion in his first moments. “As a coach, I have the title for the first time. It was difficult for me. As a player, I already knew what and how. As a coach, I saw in the boys that when we played in the final, without Nymburk, Děčín was there, so we could succeed and it really tied us together. We needed to relax the boys a bit. And you saw that match, even though they were missing players, it was difficult. But it's a victory. Amazing atmosphere, and the people are amazing,” recounted the fifty-one-year-old Czudek.
Děčín, without the supports of Anthony Walton and Tomáš Pomikálek, who were injured in Sunday's second duel in Opava, could, on the other hand, count on Filip Kroutil. After shoving Martin Gniadek, he received a fine, not a match stoppage.
Opava initially led 5:0 and 9:5, then the guests started an eight-point streak after Kroutil's triple. Until Šiřin equalized at 21:21. At the start of the second quarter, the guests led 27:23 after another long shot by Kroutil, Slezáné turned the series 7:0. After that, the North Bohemians had the upper hand, but Opava turned the score from 33:39 to 46:39. The last point of this series was offered to the home team by Svoboda, who committed a technical foul after a foul on Jakub Mokrána. Kroutil stopped the streak with a three-pointer and Nichols immediately added another, who then closed the first half by reducing the score to 47:48.
After the break, Dontae Bruner turned the lead over to the visitors' side, and Děčín then led twice by three points, but from Jan Švandrlík's 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter (63:60) were just catching up with the Warriors. In the 35th minute, after baskets by Luďek Jurečka and Švandrlík, the home team led 81:74 with the roaring support of the audience. Nichols, the author of the team's 12 points in a row, kept the visitors' hopes alive.
The wide took a 91-86 lead with 76 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but it was only a point after a basket by Martin Mach and two sixes by Bruner. Then Šiřina prevailed again, but Nichols erased the three-point gap 3.9 seconds before the end. In overtime, Tomáš Jansa first missed both free throws and Opava went on to a blockbuster thanks to Jureček's three-pointer and two Šiřina six-pointers. Děčín turned it around to 101:100, but Šiřina and Jurečka's three-pointer decided on a key four-point gap. Mokráň sealed the win with two sixes.
“It's terribly difficult for me to rate it. We worked all season. We had a tight rotation and yet everything, when some difficult moments came, we were able to handle it. The basic part was great, the superstructure as well, the playoffs were perfect. Unfortunately, the final came some injuries, I don't want to say that they were decisive, because we managed it perfectly on the home board,” assessed the injured captain Pomikálek.
“I don't have a single word that the boys slacked off somewhere. They played incredibly, brilliantly and to last moment. Even today's match is proof of that, that they were able to push Opava on their scoreboard into overtime. Very small details were decisive and a happier team won,” Pomikálek added.
Men's basketball league playoff final – 4th game :
Opava – Děčín 108:104 after prol. (23:24, 48:47, 68:67, 93:93)
Most points: Šiřina 31, Jurečka 16, Kouril and Švandrlík each 15 – Matěj Svoboda 25, Nichols 23, Bruner and Kroutil each 14. Fouls: 27:21. Free throws: 25/20 – 30/18. Threes: 12:16 p.m. Rebounds: 41:44. Final score of the series: 3:1.