Monday, 30 May 2022

TCN 1-On-1: American Basketball Player Shannon Shorter Talks ABA League & Life in Croatia

May 30, 2022 - Shannon Shorter joined KK Split for the second half of the season in December. On Friday night, the team was eliminated by KK Zadar in the semi-finals of the Croatian league. However, the Yellows managed to make a run to stay in the ABA League by reaching the relegation spot and ended up not even needing to play relegation. The American guard sat down with Burak Canboy for this exclusive interview. 

Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Let me congratulate you on receiving the ABA League Top Scorer Award this year. You won the Korean Basketball League Championship in 2019, but apart from the Israel All-Star Game MVP in 2014, this was only your second individual international award. How do you feel?

I did win a league's top scorer title in Israel before, but it was not celebrated officially like this one. It surely wasn't my goal to become the league's top scorer when I signed. I was only looking to compete in a new league that I had heard about. I thought that I could have done better but also felt I was able to improve my game a bit during this time. It is surely a blessing being able to compete at this level.


Why basketball?

As a kid and young man, I tried different sports. Did football, baseball, etc. but at some point, I saw my brother's success in basketball and spent a lot of time and tried to follow in his footsteps.

I told my Mom I wanted to be in the NBA one day. I want to be a professional basketball player. I managed to become a professional, and the NBA is still on the horizon [laughs].

What did you know about KK Split and Jugoplastika before coming here, and what have you learned since then?

I had heard of the club and knew about Croatian legends. I read up a little online about Toni Kukoč being from here and about the 3 Euroleague titles.

The biggest thing to take away as an experience since coming here is seeing the fans and how they supported the team and me. I came here to win the title and am very disappointed about not having been able to do that for the fans and the club. 


How would you describe the five months you have been with the team? Namely, your experiences with the management, coaches, players, and fans?

I have nothing but good things to say about all of them.

KK Split is the 20th club in a 10-year career (2x Hebei Xianglan, China, and 2x Ostioneros de Guaymas, Mexico). You probably get this quite often, but how come you have changed clubs and countries so much?

Well, it wasn't planned. I did not want to go back home. If you know what I mean. I felt discomfort at home. Especially financially, so I tried being more comfortable. I tried doing something I loved and was able to get paid for it. Then after some time playing in Mexico and South America, I looked for an agent and asked him to give me the best opportunity to move my career forward.

Every step since then felt like moving forward.

USA, Mexico, Argentina, Israel, Japan, China, Turkey, France, Australia, Lebanon, Korea, Greece, and Croatia. That is 13 countries in which you have played basketball so far. Which was your favorite country to live in, and where you have enjoyed the level of competition the most?

Israel and Australia to live in. It was a very relaxed feeling. Competition was Turkey and Australia, apart from ABA League now, which is also very competitive.

Is there any country or league still on your "bucket list"?


That was a very fast answer! Why?

I'd say that apart from the NBA, it is one of the top 2 competitive leagues in the world, along with Turkey. It would be great to get a chance to compete on that level. 

I would like to ask you a few rather lifestyle and political questions. Most of our readers are either Croats abroad or expats in Croatia. I am sure they would like to hear how it feels for you to work and live as a foreigner in Croatia? How does Croatia relate to the other places you have played?

Croatia is surely up there with one of the top places. Split is a nice place, not too big,  no need to drive; things are close enough that you can walk to places with a lot of tourist attractions. I especially like spending time by the Riva.


You are originally from Houston, Texas. What do you love about Split, what do you like doing here, and what do you think is missing?

The people are really nice. I just love to go for walks; the experiences here are wonderful. 

What are you missing?

My wife. 

That's something we cannot change. But what would you say Split could change to be even better?

I really don't know. It is a very unique city. Maybe the stores could be open a bit longer.

If you do not wish to answer this one, I can understand, but what are your experiences regarding racism in sports, and how do they differ here in Croatia from other countries you have played in?

Growing up, I either didn't experience racism much, or maybe I wasn't aware of it yet. I would say that I didn't experience it as a professional player. Neither elsewhere nor here. Then again, I must say that the Zadar fans have been very disrespectful. I wouldn't say that was racism. I appreciate supporters trying all to get the opponent's players off their game, but in Zadar, it was too much. 


Anywhere else you have experienced that?

[Laughs]. Yeah. The fans in Lebanon were even tougher. 

Do you wish to comment on the gun shooting in Uvalde, Texas? I hope your family and friends are safe. 

It is very unfortunate, very sad. It is very distasteful and I don't have the words; I still don't have them. I don't know what to say to the families; I don't know what an individual may be thinking to do that. It must have been some very deep insecurity within himself. Something must have hurt him very deeply. 

I believe that usually, such things come from the heart. Like premeditated murder, you have to think about things first. It must come from the heart. Or rape or anything you would say is abnormal. Such things always come from inside.

I pray for the hearts of everyone on earth to get rid of that darkness in their hearts and be able to find love.

This is the 2nd mass shooting in only two weeks. Lawmakers need to make changes. It shouldn't be possible to put guns into everyone's hands. Things have to change.


Let me get back to the sports-related questions. Last year Zadar won the championship after five games against Split. This year you played a lot of derbies with Zadar both in the ABA League and in the Premijer Liga. Why do you think they could pull off those important games, and why did Split fall short when it counted?

I won championships and am used to playing in the finals over the years. When you play for titles, you understand what things you need to do and what things you cannot do when games are on the edge.

For example, on Friday, we had the momentum when we were up by 10 points. Then you get called with an intentional and a technical foul. They score all free throws and get points off the inbound. Your energy, lead, and momentum are gone.

So I can say they were more mature mentally to know how to win these games where every possession matters. We just aren't there yet.


In the second quarter against Zadar, you had a few successful back-to-back pick and roll plays with Shawn Jones. Why didn't we see these kinds of plays during the fourth quarter and regularly earlier in the season?

The play had just come to play approximately two weeks ago. That's why we hadn't used it much before. Later in the game, I agree that we could have used it more often, but other plays were also working well with Vuko and Roko. 

Your coach Srđan Subotić had his first year as a head coach. How do you think he did in general? What are his strengths, and what do you think he could improve in the future?

I have a lot of respect for him. He had a lot of pressure on him the entire time, but you could not tell. He did very well to have the team focus on what's ahead, not what's behind. I think he could push players more out of their comfort zone to challenge everyone to deliver greatness all the time. 


You are now almost 33. Coach Srđan played until he was 37. Michael Jordan came back out of retirement at your age and won three more titles before retiring at 40. How do you feel about your body, and how many more seasons do you think you have in you?

I always said that I would love to play until I am 40. In the meantime, I got married, which shifts focus. Luckily I had no serious injuries, so my body still feels good. I surely have 3 to 5 more years in me.


How much time do you spend thinking about the future, and what are your plans after retiring as a professional player?

I am thinking about the future a lot already and have a foundation back home where I do community work and try to give something back with scholarships and back-to-school drives. That's something I would do more. I also would love to do news and analytical work. I am looking for opportunities to do that in the summer. Other than that, I am meditating to help me stay present in the moment and enjoy what I have now.

Are we going to see you playing for KK Split again next season?

That's a good question. It is a possibility. I don't want to rule it out. I told the team and the management that a mutual benefit would need to be reached. I know my value and timing made it possible this year. So many talks will be needed, and we will see where it goes from there.

Once more, thank you for taking the time, and I must say that I would personally very much enjoy bumping into you again under the baskets of Gripe next season. However, even if not, I wish you and your family a safe future on your journey around the basketball courts of the world. 

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 27 May 2022

KK Split Gives Away Shot at the Title to KK Zadar 77:84 (36:31)

May 27, 2022 - Defending champions KK Zadar overcome home-court disadvantage and come back from behind to win the final game of this year's semifinal series 2:1.

Entering tonight's game both teams had won their home games clearly. Split had opened last Friday with a 74:64 (39:33) victory and Zadar answered with 76:57 (34:36) on Monday to tie the series and enforce today's decisive final encounter. 


The guests had to deal with internal problems during the last days after the police and justice system needed to get involved at the request of board members claiming that management was involved in embezzlement. The hosts were able to celebrate Shannon Shorter receiving the ABA League Top Scorer award last night. 


The 2000 spectators at Gripe saw a proper derby fight in which the Yellows for most of the game looked like they would win this one tonight. In the beginning, it was Zadar who had the better start. It took some time until close to the end of the first quarter before Split conquered its first lead at 16:14 but Zadar closed the quarter with the final points to make it 16:17.


During the second quarter, Jones had an impact with two blocked shots and 4 points from well-executed pick and rolls with Shorter. Ukić came off the bench and also took over more responsibility. The former NBA player scored 10 points and together with some strong effort by Jukić, the home team pulled away to a 36:31 lead at halftime.


Lots of drama then in quarter 3: Split was about to pull away in the race at 47:37 when two fouls against Žganec were not called by the referees, but his unlucky foul as a response was called an intentional one as it stopped a potential fast break. During the following discussion between coaches, players, and referees, a technical foul was issued against the Split bench and Zadar immediately came back to 47:43 and then to 47:45 before recovered Toni Perković gave short relief with a 3 pointer which was directly followed by a 3 from Drežnjak (50:48), an offensive rebound and Drežnjak's 50:50. A foul on Ukić who successfully finished his lay-up lit the gym on fire. Srđan Subotić's Yellows closed the quarter at 62:59 and then recovered their 10-point lead at 67:57 with 7 minutes left to play. 


The summer break will probably not be long enough to analyse what happened next. Even though a 10-point lead is not considered much, it is still a lead that a home team in a decisive game should manage to hold on to. But Split couldn't and it was the players with the blue jerseys once again who managed to celebrate as so often this season. 


Srđan Hellbich's team (top sorters scorers: Thompson 23 points Mavra 18, Drežnjak 14, Carter 13) will now have a chance to defend their title against Cibona Zagreb in a best of 5 series which will begin on Monday in Zagreb. 

Result by quarters: 16:17, 36:31, 62:59, 77:84

Referees: Jovović Alfred, Hadžić Denis, Kruljac Bojan


For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 23 May 2022

KK Zadar Ties Championship Semifinals Against KK Split 76:57 (34:36) at Home

May 23, 2022 - Krešimir Ćosić Arena seemed almost empty with 1100 in attendance at game two of this year's Croatian Basketball Championship semifinals between KK Zadar and KK Split. The fans there saw a mediocre game with a better end for the hosts. 



After Split had used its home-court advantage in game one on Friday for a 74:64 victory, it was Zadar's third-quarter energy display to enforce a game three. The home team had led most of the first half but Split stayed in the game despite missing Toni Perković, who had been an important factor in the last game. Even without the outside shots from the guard, Srđan Subotić's team managed to catch the first lead just at the end of the second half (34:36).



The game was then decided in the third quarter, in which Zadar dominated the boards and was able to outscore the Yellows 25:9. Split was able to increase defensive intensity in the final quarter, but terrible outside shooting (18% three-point percentage) did not allow them to turn the game around. 



Zadar coach Srđan Helbich's best players were Justin Carter, who scored 21 points and caught 7 rebounds, Trevor Thompson added 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Dario Drežnjak added 13 points to the victory. Shannon Shorter, with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Tonko Vuko, with 15 points, were the only ones in double digits wearing the Split jersey today.


The decisive third game will be played in Split on Friday, May 27th.

Referees: Hordov Tomislav, Jurčević Josip, Gracin Franko

Result by quarters: 22:16, 12:20, 25:9, 17:12

Box score: 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 20 May 2022

KK Split Starts Semifinals against Zadar with a Convincing Victory

May 20, 2022 - Shorter and Perkovic lead KK Split to a 74:64 (39:33) win in front of 1500 fans.

The KK Split basketball team has started well into this year's semi-final play-offs of the Croatian Championships against Dalmatian rival KK Zadar.  Both teams only needed 2 games to pass through the quarter-finals where Zadar eliminated Zabok and Split went through Škrljevo. 


With well-rested and complete squads, the debut game was played in front of a very supportive atmosphere. Additionally to the regular supporters, 50 kids of K.K. Solin’s youth teams were invited as special guests and became witnesses to a high-level display from both sides. While all players started the game a little nervously and with a focus not to make mistakes, the defensive effort and intensity were at 100% right from the start. 


The Yellows were able to rely on Shannon Shorter again as so often this season to give them confidence. The American guard scored the first five points for the home team and was always there with important points and eight rebounds when the game was close. The team from Zadar on the other side needed Justin Carter to contribute 16 points in order to stop the game from being decided early. 


The guests made every effort to keep the game close and even had a few leads during the game and tied the game in the final quarter at 62:62 with five minutes left to play. However, Shannon Shorter was not the only sharpshooter in a yellow uniform tonight. Toni Perković’s 22 points coming off the bench and hitting 6 of 10 tries from three-point land were just too much for guest coach Vladimir Anzulović’s team to digest. 


“We made an important step and finally played the home game against Zadar at the right level. After six or seven minutes of nervousness, we stabilized. I think that was the decisive factor that we kept the game under control," said the coach of Split, Srdjan Subotic to sum up the evening.


The first game of the best of 3 series bears great importance as from now on reigning champion Zadar is already with their backs to the wall. Split could finish the series with an away win in Zadar on Monday but even if they should lose in Zadar, they would have another shot at home.


Result by quarters: 74:64 (18:22, 21:13, 16:17, 19:12).

Referees: Josip Radojković, Alfred Jovović and Martin Vulić.

Box Score:

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 2 April 2022

KK Split Fans Witness Battle, Excitement, Frustration in 85:90 ABA League Overtime Loss to FMP Belgrade

April 2, 2022 - This was the third extremely close game within 96 hours for KK Split who was welcomed very warmly by their officially reported 2000 fans at Gripe after the 81:80 victory on Thursday against Mega Belgrade and the 77:78 defeat against Zadar on Tuesday.

Srđan Subotić, coach of Split had again called for help from the bleachers after it had worked well last time: "This rhythm continues every other day. FMP is an athletic team, and extremely energetic. FMP is playing a great season, they come motivated and full of desire to win. We play at home, the audience gives us extra energy. Thank you to the fans who follow us game after game. Gripe is getting fuller, a great atmosphere has been created and we will do our best to use it."

Guest coach Nenad Stefanović knew what awaited him and called his team to stay attentive: "The Split team showed us in the first match in Zeleznik, especially in the first half, how dangerous it can be and how potent it is in the attack. They work very well offensively, with the arrival of Shorter they gained an extra dimension in the attack, and with the return of Jones stability and strength in the racket. They are a team that is very strong and difficult, especially at home. In addition to the victories they achieved, they were close to surprising the big favorites several times. We prepared as seriously as possible."

The Yellows went into the game with a three victory streak in the ABA League and with the aim to secure 13th place which means a shot at relegation against the runner-up of ABA League 2. They possibly could have even reached for the final straw that would give them rank 12 if they won all remaining games and if the other results went their way. FMP on the other side still had the chance to qualify for the playoffs early with a win tonight.


For almost the entire game it wasn't clear which team would come closer to their goal. What neither side seemed to be expecting was how close this game would be and that only extra time would produce a winner.  

The first quarter went to Belgrade (18:20) who were usually upfront in the first half but Split was always close to follow. With their last attack of the first half, the Yellows took their first lead of the game at 39:38. FMP Belgrade then closed that gap again in the third quarter which meant 52:52 before the fourth quarter.


The game continued to be extremely close but a block by Perković, followed by points and great efforts by him and Shorter not only lead to a 61:58 with 6:24 to play but also brought the crowd off their seats. 


Less than a minute later everybody held their breath when Shannon Shorter had to be taken out of the game as he appeared to be injured. Luckily he was able to return to the game after brief treatment. The home team needed their leader as Belgrade was able to tie the game again. 

Kovačević scored a three-point shot with 1 minute 42 seconds left to make it 72:69, but Belgrade answered with a fast break, a good defense, and a three-pointer by Stepanović to turn the game around at 72:74 with 25 seconds to play.


Split's inside man Žganec kept his cool and made both of his free throws to tie the game again at 74:74 and 19 seconds on the clock. Subotić called his team to defend instead of going for a quick foul and the team followed his instructions well. Belgrade's point-guard Bryce Jones missed his layup, which meant overtime.


The guests had a better start into the additional five minutes and quickly established a five-point lead. Forward Tasić even succeeded in increasing the lead to 80:86 with a 3 point shot and only 88 seconds left to play. 


Perković's three points to reach 83:86 did not make a difference and the home side was not at the happy end of the week. Belgrade's Bryce Jones scored a total of 23 points to become the top scorer of the night. Shannon Shorter scored one less but also grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double while he carried his team during most of the game. 

Referees: Matej Boltauzer, Milan Nedović, Matej Špendl

Box score: 

ABA League Format:

ABA League Format:
The 14 teams play each other twice during the regular season to establish 6 teams that will play for the title, one team that will drop out of the league directly, and the “lucky 13th” having a chance to stay in the league by winning a best of three series against the runner-up of ABA League 2. The six teams that finish at the top of the league at the end of the regular season play each other in a play-off mode. The top two teams receive a wild card and enter the playoffs in the semi-finals, while the other four teams play each other first (3rd against 6th and 4th against 5th). The reigning champion is Red Star Belgrade who defeated Budućnost in a long 3-2 final series. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 31 March 2022

KK Split Gifts an Exciting 81:80 (38:43) Win to Fans

March 31, 2022 - KK Split gets the 81:80 (38:43) win as Mega Belgrade had the last ball but fell short in the ABA League game.

Tonight 1250 spectators created exactly the atmosphere at Gripe that Srđan Subotić, coach of KK Split had called for and the Yellows thanked them with a single point last-second 81:80 victory. 


"This is a key game for us in this part of the season, with the victory we can gain a significant advantage over Krk [currently last in the league but still with a chance to reach 13th position]. The most important thing is our physical fitness after a difficult game against Zadar. Mega is young, twelve days without games. If we respond physically then our chances are great. I hope the stands are full, the support in the match with Zadar was great, I believe it will be the same against Mega." The Yellows only had 46 hours to re-generate since their Tuesday single-point home defeat against KK Zadar (read about here) but had still brought some confidence to the game with back-to-back wins in ABA League against Mornar (76:67) and a surprising away game win at Borac (59:64).

MEGA Belgrade on the other hand had lost six games in a row in the ABA League since their 79:86 derby victory at FMP Belgrade on January 29th. Since the beginning of the calendar year, they have been pretty much in the table’s no-man’s land with relegation being no concern and the playoffs out of reach. Vladimir Jovanović, coach of Mega Mozart before the game: “Split has very good momentum, they celebrated two victories, against Mornar at home and against Borac away, they definitely raised their form. Since the first match in Belgrade, they changed the team a lot, in addition to Jones, who was absent from the court for a long time, they added Shorter and their entire outside line is very good.” It was quite obvious that if the guests wanted to win the game they had to improve the level of defense compared to their previous six games.

The spectators witnessed an entertaining game right from the start. The guest team's sharpshooter Simanić opened the game with a three-point shot before a team effort with a three-pointer by Barič, a block by Jones, and a mid-range jumper from Shorter was followed by a beautiful effort for two more points by Jones to give Split the first lead (7:3) of the night.


Both sides were able to count on their accuracy from outside. Belgrade's Simanić (7 of 8!) and Split's Perković (4 of 6) kept making their outside shots throughout the entire game. The guests were able to pull away a little by the end of the first half due to Simanić who delivered a perfect first half with 2 for 2 from the field, 1 of 1 from the free-throw line, and an incredible 4 for 4 from behind the three-point line for a total of 17 points in only 10 minutes and 17 seconds on the court. 


The game went back and forth in the third quarter. Mega went up by 12 points at the beginning before Split turned it around to finish the quarter 59:55.

What the spectators got to see in the fourth quarter made up for a lot. After none of the teams could pull away decisively, Perković made four successful free throws after an intentional foul on the fast break to give his team an important 71:64 lead. 


The guests came back with a great 5 point run to 71:69 before two successful free throws by Shorter after another fast break foul meant 73:69.

Mega Belgrade kept their cool and answered with another successful 3-point shot by Simanić to make it 73:72 and possession for the Yellows with 68 seconds to go. 


Ukić missed his three-point attempt but Žganec came up with the offensive rebound and his scoring attempt received a goaltending call to give the home team a 75:72 lead with 40 seconds to play.

At 77:76 another intentional foul by Belgrade's Metković gave Žganec the chance to decide the game but the inside man only scored 1 of his 2 free throw attempts. 

Perković made it better by scoring what seemed to be the decisive 3 point shot of the game for the 79:74 lead but it was Simanić again with another 3 to reopen the race at 79:77 with 7 seconds to play. 


Two successful free throws by Shorter to make it 81:77 with 4 seconds to play should have been the end of the game.

Should have, could have, would have, if Split was not stupid enough to foul Jović during his final three-point attempt. The ball went in, 81:80, free-throw Jović to make it into overtime. 


As if the excitement was not enough, Jović missed, the guests picked up the offensive rebound with a second to play but luckily for Split the ball went out of control and time ran out to give Split the third ABA league victory in a row and Belgrade a frustrating trip to Zadar after seven straight losses.


Simanić was the top scorer of the game with 30 points followed by his teammate Jović with 22. For KK Split Perković collected 21 points followed by Shorter with 16. Honorable mention also goes to Barič who made 4 of his 5 three-point attempts for a total of 15 points. 


Referees: Luka Kardum, Edo Javor, Stefan Ćalić

Box score: 

ABA League Format:

The 14 teams play each other twice during the regular season to establish 6 teams that will play for the title, one team that will drop out of the league directly, and the “lucky 13th” having a chance to stay in the league by winning a best of three series against the runner-up of ABA League 2. The six teams that finish at the top of the league at the end of the regular season play each other in a play-off mode. The top two teams receive a wild card and enter the playoffs in the semi-finals, while the other four teams play each other first (3rd against 6th and 4th against 5th). The reigning champion is Red Star Belgrade who defeated Budućnost in a long 3-2 final series. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

KK Split Gives Away Another Home Game to Zadar 77:78 (42:36)

March 29, 2022 - KK Split has given another home game away to Zadar, losing 77:78 at Gripe on Tuesday night. 

Almost two weeks have passed since the "Yellows" lost their place in the sunlight on the last day of the regular season in the Croatian HT Premijer Liga. KK Zadar had dominated most of the game and managed to steal points at Gripe with a convincing 81:95 victory.


Since then, Split won all three games against Cedevita and at Gorica during the championship round of HT Premijer Liga and pulled off a surprise win at Borac in the ABA League.



Zadar won its final game of the regular season against Zabok and won at home against Cibona in the championship round. After that, however, they lost at home in the ABA league against Ljubljana (77:92) and then again closely at Mornar (86:84).


Tonight Split dominated most of the game but failed to make the kill. At Gripe, 900 fans saw a good game from Split during the first half. The home team used their advantage under the basket. Zadar was missing Vuković and Bursać, two experienced big men. With space under the basket, the Yellows were able to set up a successful in-and-out game with easy baskets from the perimeter.


During the third quarter, guest coach Anzulović and his team were able to find answers. Zadar's stolen talent from Podstrana, Tomislav Buljan, used his chance and gave his team the necessary extra energy. The U19 Finals' MVP used his 11 minutes for 6 points and 4 rebounds and kept the home centers busy.



A few minutes before the end of the game, Split looked like the sure winner with a 71:62 lead and just less than 4 minutes to play. However, when it was needed, guest captain Mavra started making his outside shots again. With only seconds to go and the game tied, Shannon Shorter was blocked by Zadar's Justin Carter. The American combo guard delivered a convincing game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and two critical blocks. His last block sealed the victory.


The top scorer of the night was guest captain Dominik Mavra again with 19 points (5 of 7 three-point shots) and 8 assists.


Srđan Subotić had to leave the gym with his head bowed down. This game should not have been lost. Once again, the low free throw percentage (12 of 19 = 63%) cost his team a victory. Kovačević was the top scorer for the home team with 16 points (5 of 10 three-point shots) 

Box score:

Referees: Hordov Tomislav, Radojković Josip, Gracin Franko

HT Premijer Liga format:

The Croatian basketball championship is played in 3 rounds. The twelve teams of HT Premijer Liga play each other twice to establish the top and bottom half of the league. The points are maintained in the second round, where the top 6 teams play each other twice in the championship round; the last 6 teams also play each other again twice in the relegation round. Then the top 6 teams and the best two teams of the relegation round play each other in the playoffs for the championship. The last-placed team at the end of the relegation round drops out, and the 11th faces the runner-up of the First League in a two-game match-up. The team that scores more in those two games earns the right to play in the higher league in the following season.

All photos by Burak Canboy

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 14 March 2022

KK Split Loses Important Placement Match against Zadar 81:95 (32:54)

March 14, 2022 - With KK Split and KK Zadar as last year's finalists, two of the big favorites for the Croatian title in the HT Premijer Liga met tonight at Gripe to battle for a good spot in the playoffs. 

The Croatian league is again dominated by the big four teams, including Cibona and Cedevita from Zagreb. All four are qualified for the playoffs, and tonight's game was important not only for prestige but also to secure a good spot in the upcoming playoffs.


A total of 8 teams qualify for the playoffs. The six teams that played the championship round will be supplemented by the top two teams of the relegation round.


With four defeats, Split had the least losses of the top teams before the game while the other three teams had 5 defeats. However, Split did not play like a championship contender for most of the game. 


Zadar started the game with a dunk by Trevor Carter Thompson and was able to do whatever they wanted with the Yellows during the entire first quarter (12:27). Srđan Subotić's home team could not find a solution against Zadar's inside game. 


Thompson, Bursać, Vuković continued to cut through Split's defense play after play and increased the lead to 32:54 at halftime. 

The 700 visitors witnessed an ugly third quarter with plenty of could but no difference in the lead. The guests were even able to pull away to a 28 point lead before the end of the third quarter (58:79).


However, those who stayed to watch were rewarded by an extremely fun final quarter. Out of nowhere, Split was able to find a way back into the game. Led by Roko Ukić, three-pointers by Perković, Čampara, and Kovačevič, the home crowd smelled a sensation. With 3 minutes to play, Split had managed to be in a 10-point-game. 

The surprised guests from northern Dalmatia almost lost all their nerves, hadn't it been for team captain Dominik Mavra who scored a three-pointer with 37 seconds to play and re-established an 11 point lead for his team.

The final score was 81:95 and Split lost both the game and the 9-point-advantage from their first-leg victory. With one more game to be played by Cibona, it appears that Zadar secured the top spot for the playoffs, while Split will need to wait for the Cibona-Furnir game's result tomorrow to know at which spot they will head into the playoffs.

The best player of the night for guest coach Srđan Helbich was Trevor Carter Thompson who scored a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Small Gym on Gripe


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Sunday, 6 March 2022

KK Krka Uses Home-Court Advantage to Win ABA League Relegation Fight against Split 87:84 (46:49)

March 6, 2022 - A good first half by KK Split was not enough to bring back important points from KK Krka in Slovenia.

Both teams at Leona Štuklja Sports Hall in Novo Mesto knew how important the match was for their respective future in ABA League 1. Merely 3 wins from 18 games for the hosts and 3 wins from 19 games for the “Yellows” from Split meant the worst two teams in the league were going head to head.


Mornar, Zadar, and Borac, with seven victories, already seem out of reach, and the loser would very likely have to go down into the second league while the winner would at least keep hopes alive to play relegation against the runner-up in ABA League 2.


Krka coach Dalibor Damjanović tried to have his team prepared against many threats from Shannon Shorter and several of his teammates while Srđan Subotić, coach of Split, tried to have his team forget the surprising home game loss against KK Alkar on Friday. Instead, both coaches had their teams start the game focused. 


The 250 guests who came to watch the game at an unusual time saw a good first half with few mistakes on both sides. The match was very balanced in the first half, with plenty of lead changes. Nevertheless, the guests from Split managed to take a slight lead into the locker room at half-time (46:49). 


Krka all-around player Adonis Thomas who had been injured during the game in Split, showed his importance in the second half. The team from Novo Mesto returned wide awake from the break and laid the foundation for the win with a 23:11 scoring run in the third quarter. While the “Yellows” came back into the game in the fourth quarter, the energy seemed drained after the game on Friday and traveling on Saturday. 


It could be just bad luck for Split that after 12 straight losses, it was in game 13 that Krka could stop its losing streak, but then again, any team making only 12 of 21 free throws does not deserve to win at this level. Both teams still have a few opportunities to change their position in the table but despite still holding the advantage in direct comparison, Split missed a critical chance tonight. 


Apart from Thomas, who had eight rebounds and 23 points, Miha Lapornik shone brightly for the home team and dropped a total of 25 points to become the top scorer of the night. However, it was once again Shannon Shorter who scored most points for the guests sharing the spot with Toni Perkovic this time (both 18).


The “Yellows" will have a week to lick their wounds before they host Mornar at Gripe on Friday. Krka will play in the Slovenian league on Wednesday before traveling to Borac on Saturday.


2022/03/06 ABA League KK Krka vs. KK Split

Venue: ŠD Leona Štuklja Novo Mesto

Referees: Ilija Belošević, Uroš Obrknežević, Vladimir Vesković

Results by quarter. 21:24,25:25,23:11,18:24


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Saturday, 12 February 2022

ABA League: Cedevita Olimpija Tops KK Split in Dramatic Finish at Gripe 83:79

February 12, 2022 - KK Split missed a chance for another sensation in the ABA league, losing to Cedevita Olimpija at home.

There was plenty of frustration visible in Split during the last minutes of the 20th round of the ABA League. 70:70 with two minutes to go looked like a pretty good base for yet another surprise for the Yellows after the 89:77 against Igokea in their last ABA league home game 2 weeks earlier. It would have been an important win after the disappointing display against Cibona in Zagreb on Monday (84:65).


The Slovenian national forward Edo Murić did show his qualities with two back-to-back three-pointers under pressure to silence the home crowd of 600. His 17 points in total allowed the team from Ljublijana to increase their winning streak to 4 wins in EuroCup and ABA League.


Guest coach Jurica Golemac was already aware of the recent success in Split against Igokea and was especially impressed with the close game against Red Star. Last night's game being their 4th win in 8 days made the victory even more outstanding and showed how well he was able to prepare his team for the Yellows.


KK Split remains tied with Krka for last place (3 wins each) and will need a miracle to catch up with the next teams from Borac and Zadar (6 wins each) while Olimpija manages to hold on to fourth place which would give them home-court for advantage in the first round of playoffs. 


Split's top-scoring players were Karlo Žganec (17 points, 7 rebounds) and Shannon Shorter (19 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists).


Referees: Sašo Petek, Marko Juras, Marko Pecelj

Final result (79:83) by quarters: 21:22, 13:14, 22:21, 23:26

Box score:

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