BasketballWhat if we started to take the people of Neuchâtel seriously?
English week obliges for the SB League, our specialist journalist looks back on Wednesday’s matches, before those of the weekend.
Neuchâtel – Monthey 99-85
When we got him on the phone ten days ago after the convincing success against Massagno, Killian Martin had his feet on the ground. After all, Union had only just won their first meeting of the season, after four straight defeats. But since then, the Neuchâtelois have followed up with two other victories, the last of which against Monthey on Wednesday (99-85). And there was frankly enough to be enthusiastic about the more than 500 spectators present at La Riveraine in the middle of the week!
With 34 points in the first quarter alone, Mitar Trivunovic’s players set a record since the start of the year. Above all, they struck down lightning: 82% success in shooting, including 85% from behind the arc in the first ten minutes! Simply science fiction. “We feel like we can beat anyone,” center Vigdon Memishi told “ArcInfo” on Thursday. And this confidence seems to reflect on the Neuchâtel address.
Buoyed by their long-range success – Union are the league’s most skilful team with 39% thanks to Dalan Ancrum, Juan Esteban de la Fuente and Nate West – last season’s runners-up is proving those who had “buried” him after a failed start to the season. At the Sporthalle in Birsfelden, the Neuchâtel residents have the opportunity to continue on Saturday. Against Massagno, Boncourt or Monthey, they got into the good habit of starting meetings with their feet on the floor. Starwings has been warned.
Neuchâtel – Monthey 99-85
From La Riveraine to Le Reposieux, the momentum is estimated to be different. After four successes in a row to start the season, the Valaisans are now five losses in a row. Wednesday evening, Patrick Pembele’s men forgot to defend. And even if Mitar Trivunovic’s offensive systems were carried out to perfection, conceding 99 points is almost professional misconduct.
“We weren’t there as a team but as individuals, rightly noted Thomas Salman, on his club’s social networks after the game. We always make the same mistakes. We had a lot of success at the start of the season and then injuries (note: Fristschi and Eberle are still absent). There, we are in a hollow and this is where we will see if we are a team and that we can go up the slope together.
It was added that Jaizec Lottie’s return to the game would give the Boars a winning streak but it did not have the intended effect. Exempted from the championship until December 11 – they will just play the Swiss Cup on November 30 in Villars – the Valaisans will have time to refine their group cohesion and ensure that it is repeated on the floor.
It was enough to ask the question Monday of the performance of Maleye N’Doye as the third foreign player for the 42-year-old Senegalese veteran to come out of the woodwork: 15 points in 26 minutes with four shots from behind the arc before halftime. This good Maleye remembered our good memories. “He arrived very late during the preparation. We knew it was going to take time for it to get going”, defended Jérôme Darbre a few days ago. So the president had to be believed.
With N’Doye gaining momentum, Devante Brooks as good as ever and Joël Wolfisberg (13 points in 24 minutes) raising the level of a group on his own when he has confidence in himself, BBC Nyon revived a bit in the race for the quarter-finals of the SBL Cup against Boncourt. It should also be noted that Colin Dougherty, the usual full-back, started on the bench. It remains to be seen whether it was a one-night stand or a final adjustment by coach Stefan Ivanovic.
As for Boncourt, a nice surprise at the start of the year, that’s three defeats in a row. Marked in the pants by the neo-Nyonnais Eric Fongué then Joël Wolfisberg, Florian Steinmann did not have his usual performance. With the absence of Josh Brown (wrist) for long weeks, the leaders must find a replacement for him and the sooner the better for the troop of Etienne Faye. With 16 lost balls, he missed someone who plays the role of catalyst at the Rock on Wednesday. “How hard is it to play without Josh? I can’t think of the words I want to use, a Martins Igbanu reaction, for “Le Quotidien Jurassien”. It’s very, very hard to play without him, he was the heart of the team.
Central Switzerland – Geneva Lions 85-95
Well. On Monday, we wrote that the outcome was inevitable between James Karnik and the Pommier club. And the Canadian pivot with the painful knee was not strangely moving to Lucerne on Wednesday… We can therefore expect an announcement from the Geneva Lions in the coming hours.
While waiting for a new foreign pivot, the Genevans have done the job at Swiss Central. With a good pass from Bryan Colon (24 points) and Slobodan Miljanic (18), Alain Attallah and his players widened the gap just before halftime. The Lucerne returned to three units at the end of the third quarter but Jeremiah Paige sent an award-winning shot with the fault to definitively repel the opposing assaults. Le Pommier will have the opportunity to discover Erik Thomas on Saturday for the derby against Nyon (6 p.m.).