Basketball In Europe - Hungary
|No Angel, no problem. Sopron conquered the Hungarian league trophy in spite of McCoughtry's departure to Istanbul midway through the season|
The defining moment of MKB Euroleasing Sopron's season could have been the club's decision to transfer their best player, Angel McCoughtry, to Fenerbahce late in the Qualifying Round of the EuroLeague Women.
Norbert Szekely's team battled without the Team USA world champion and reached the European post-season but lost to Ros Casares in three games to exit the competition.
McCoughtry's departure is now a distant memory for Szekely and Co after they rebounded from an 0-2 start in the Hungarian play-off championship finals to beat rivals Pecs 2010, 3-2.
The title win came in Pecs, where 3,800 boisterous fans tried to cheer Zeljko Djokic's team to victory but were ultimately left disappointed after an 83-79 Sopron victory.
All the MKB Euroleasing players wanted to talk about after the triumph was the 'never-say-die' attitude each had in the title showdown.
Captain Katalin Honti, a Hungary international, said: "We were down 0-2, but we didn't give up and won the third game.
"With that success, we got going.
"With this power, we could win the championship."
Amber Holt also spoke about the team's resilience.
"We knew after the first two games that we could play better," Holt said.
"We believed in ourselves and we showed it (in Game 5).
"We tried to play our style, and concentrate until the last second."
With just 15 seconds remaining in overtime of the decider and Sopron leading 81-79, Holt almost opened the door for Pecs.
She missed two free-throws and Kelsey Griffin had the rebound for Pecs, but Holt then stole the ball, was fouled and this time made both free-throws for the final score.
|Sopron head coach Norbert Szekely congratulated the players of both teams for their 'heroic' effort during the 5-game final series|
Szekely, who will soon turn his attention to Hungary since he is the national team coach and try to lead the team to victory in the Additional Qualifying Tournament for the EuroBasket Women, said: "It was heroic, what the players showed on both sides.
"We believed in ourselves continuously during the season until the end.
"We really worked as a team. Everybody knew what their roles were in the team.
"We are very happy."
The coach also took time to recognize everyone that had made a difference in the season.
"I would like to dedicate this championship to my wife and my little daughter, and all of our friends, supporters, fans and the staff," he said.
"Without them, we couldn't have won this title."
Zoltan Torok, the executive director of MKB Euroleasing Sopron, could hardly believe what the past several days had been like.
"I think it was the most exciting final in the history of Hungarian basketball," he said.
"We had a difficult season, but we won the Hungarian Cup and Championship title, too.
"We worked hard, we had luck but most important was the passion in us, in our heart, how we love basketball."
Torok added: "Thanks to everybody who supported and believed in us."