|24 May 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Dutch international Arvin Slagter led the way for Leiden with 23 points|
Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden have completed their fantastic run in the Dutch play-off finals with a fourth victory in a row over Aris Leeuwarden to celebrate the third league title in their history.
Before sweeping Leeuwarden 4-0 in the finals, Leiden had seen off Magixx Wijchen 3-0 in the first round of the post-season and then GasTerra Flames Groningen with the same score in the semi-finals.
Leiden's ten consecutive post-season wins constitute a new record in the Dutch play-offs.
In the final series, Leiden won the first three games by a margin of one, five and 10 points respectively.
In a thrilling Game 4, the eventual champions were playing on the road and trailed 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, but edged ahead 32-30 by the half-time interval.
The hosts used a 9-0 run after returning from the locker rooms to go up 39-32 but Dutch international Arvin Slagter hit two three-pointers to spark a 12-0 Leiden run that turned the tables around once again.
Leeuwarden made a last attempt to prolong the series and regained the lead, 45-44, on two free throws by Whit Holcomb-Faye but a basket by another Dutch international, shooting guard Worthy de Jong, opened a nine-point gap for Leiden with less than four minutes left on the clock.
With Slagter keeping his cool at the free throw line in the clutch, the guests did not abolish the lead until the final buzzer and clinch a 65-59 win to win the league title in dominant fashion.
Slagter paved the way to the triumph with 23 points on 5-for-9 shooting from three-point range and added three rebounds and three assists, while De Jong finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three steals and Ross Bekkering had a game-high 12 rebounds to go with his four points.
Leiden had finished in second place in the Regular Season, with a 27-9 record, while Leeuwarden had knocked out Regular Season winners Den Bosch in the play-off semi-finals.
STRASBOURG IN PRO A FINALS
Strasbourg will meet surprise package Nanterre in the French Pro A play-off finals after they out-defended Lyon-Villeurbanne 73-52 in Game 2 of their semi-final series on the road on Thursday.
Vincent Collet's team only gave up 21 points to their hosts in the entire second half and had already taken a 13-point lead in the third quarter, cruising the rest of the way.
Three players, Aymeric Jeanneau, Alexis Ajinca and Louis Campbell shared the weight on offence and scored 14 points each for the winners.
While Strasbourg had taken second place in the Regular Season standings and were expected to be title contenders, Nanterre had only finished in eighth place and knocked out Regular Season winners BCM Gravelines Dunkerque and then reigning champions Chalon/Saone, both with 2-0 wins, to reach the play-off finals.
The best-of-five title series gets under way on 29 May with Strasbourg holding the home-court advantage.