Thursday, 30 September 2021

ABA League: KK Split Loses to Partizan Belgrade 59:69 (24:38)

September 30, 2021 - Two losses for Split and two wins for Belgrade in their first games in the ABA League.

First Red Star then Cibona and now Partizan. You can call it a classic season opener for the "Yellows". While the first ABA league game in Belgrade did not go well, KK Split was able to beat Cibona Zagreb 73:62 at home to start the Premijer Liga on the right foot. 

Split's newly appointed head coach, former team captain and assistant coach Srđan Subotić, expects repeating good games on the home court, and most importantly a big step forward compared to the devastating 97:61 loss in the 1st round of ABA League against Red Star.

"Against Cibona, it was seen how much wind in our backs the return of fans in the bleachers gave us. We will get back at them, this is a derby, we are motivated and ready, we will do all to keep the points at home for our fans at home," were the Split coach's words before the game.

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At Gripe, the second game in the ABA league started slow for the home team, while legendary guest coach Željko Obradović saw his team take a 5:0 lead which Partizan was able to increase to 11:3 before Split got into the game and closed the first at 15:17 immediately after giving away their first lead of the match.

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A very low shooting percentage was the reason why KK Split lost control of the game during the second quarter and had to watch Belgrade score attack after attack to take a 38:24 lead at halftime.

Tonko Vuko's buzzer-beater to finish the third quarter 43:53 marked the only quarter Split was able to win (19:15) was also the signal for the "Yellows" to start the last effort to come back.

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Three three-pointers by Toni Perković gave Split some momentum and got the home crowd from their seats in the final quarter of the game. However, the routine of Belgrade was enough to regain control and safely take the points home. 

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Perković was the only player in double digits for Split (17), LeDay (15 points,  10 rebounds) and Smailagić (12 points) were the top scorers for Partizan Belgrade.

Referees: Igor Dragojević, Miloš Koljenšić, Ernad Karović

Box score:

https://www.aba-liga.com/match-live/8/21/1/Overview/q1/1/home/split-partizan-nis/

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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Champions League Qualifiers: KK Split Tops AEK for First European Win in 17 Years

September 14, 2021 - KK Split tops AEK for its first European victory in 17 years! A look at the Basketball Champions League qualifiers.  

At the Peristerija hall in Athens, KK Split defeated Cypriot team AEK 65:50 (13:11, 15:12, 13:16, 24:11) in the 1st match of the qualifications for the Basketball Champions League.

It was clear that Split was the better team from the first minute, and it was only a matter of time before they broke away for the lead. The last quarter was crucial when Srđan Subotić's team made it 50:39 to end all of AEK's hopes. The best scorer for Split was Karlo Žganec with 15 points, Toni Perković added 13, and it is necessary to emphasize the minutes of captain Mateo Kedžo. 

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"We are happy to win, especially since we went to Europe after so many years. It was obvious that nervousness was present and that the match's importance was felt, although we did not have any external pressure. We put pressure on ourselves; we wanted to win, this means a lot to us. In the most important moments, we played as we should have," said Split coach Srđan Subotić, who won his first match on the KK Split bench.

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He commented on Kedžo's game.

"Kedžo scored a few points in the critical minutes of the first half, and in the second half, he had great cooperation with Žganec. He showed that there is still "oil in the candle,"" says Subotić.

Split's opponent in the 2nd round will be the champion of Switzerland, Friborg. The match will be played on Wednesday, at 4.30 pm. The winner will advance to the decisive match for entering the Champions League.

"We will analyze this match, then additionally Friborg. We hope for a better game, and I believe that we can go further," concluded Subotić.

Split: Perković 13, Perasović, Kedžo 4, Runjić 4, Žganec 15, Vuko 7, Čampara 9, Bajo 6, McLean 2, Barič 5.

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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Longtime KK Split Captain Srđan Subotić Becomes New First Team Coach

August 10, 2021 - Croatian basketball runner-up KK Split announced on Monday that Srđan Subotić (41) has been appointed the new coach of the first team.

The long-time captain of Split, who was a promising young player and had a unique game as a playmaker, immediately started working as a coach at the club after the end of his playing career.

In 2017,  Subotić started working as a coach in the club's youth team and then assisted the coaches of the first team, Ivica Skelina and Mile Karakaš. He will lead Split to a new season in which they will fight again in the 1st ABA League, but also the qualifications of the FIBA ​​Champions League.

"Thank you to the club's management for the trust in me, this is a great honor, but also an obligation. I know how this club breathes, I know its size and I am aware of all the challenges ahead. At the very beginning, it is not the time for some big statements, the most important thing is to equip ourselves as soon as possible and start working," said Subotić.

Subotić will replace Milo Karakas on the Split bench, who led the team at the end of last season and managed to stay in the regional ABA league, while in the Croatian championship playoffs they reached the final in which Zadar won 3-2. 

The key and the most urgent task facing the club is to put together a team as soon as possible for the demanding season ahead of them, given the numerous departures of players from last season's squad. Split was left without Luković, Đoković, Mesiček, and Vranković, but reinforcements are still expected. However, we are still unsure we know what the roster will look like in the new season.

Source: Sportklub

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Saturday, 5 June 2021

KK Zadar Becomes Croatian Basketball Champions After 13 Years!

June 5, 2021 - KK Zadar becomes Croatian basketball champions after defeating Split 84:57 in the final game of the series on Saturday at Višnjik.

Since Croatian independence, Zagreb teams Cedevita and Cibona have mostly dominated the Basketball Championships (25 of 28 seasons). Split was able to pull off one title in 2003, while Zadar was able to win two in 2005 and 2008. 

Tonight, the two Dalmatian teams had to battle to find out who would be forever remembered as the 2021 champions and who would only be known by experts remembering a series that was played to the last decisive game. Recall, Zadar won its two home games to take a lead and seemed like the sure champions before Split somehow managed to come back to win game 3 in overtime and continue with a clear victory in game 4 to tie the series 2:2.

A lot of rumors were going on regarding discussions between the Zadar club,  the National Basketball Association, and the epidemiologists in charge of deciding how many spectators would be allowed into the gym. After the two losses in Split, the hosts were hoping for some support after seeing how much noise 100 spectators could make in Split and how many 100 spectators could actually be. During the first two games, Zadar had basically played in front of empty seats. Not very surprisingly thousands of spectators could not be held back and found their way into the arena to give Zadar a true home atmosphere, and despite all epidemic concerns it surely got loud in the arena. 

Despite the noise and intimidation, Split had the better start with a 0:5 in the first 3 minutes. Zadar was able to counter with a 14:2 run until 8 minutes into the game. Zadar was able to control the boards once again and outrebounded the Yellows 26:15 in the first half.

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The second quarter opened with a three-pointer by Jordano (20:9), followed by two more Jordano three-pointers for a 15-point Zadar advantage in the 16th minute (33:18). Mesiček responded with a three-pointer, but in the next minute and a half, the 8:0 Zadar series on the wings of Mavra and Onuaku followed, and in the 18th minute, Zadar was up by 20 (41:21). The second quarter ended with a three-pointer by Ukić and Onuaku dunk (49:29).

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Zadar's Jordano was on fire tonight and scored his sixth three-pointer of the final for 55:31 in the third quarter. Thanks to Vuković and Junaković, Zadar was up by 30 (68:38) in the last minute of the third quarter. Vukovic scored for 71:40, and Ukić ended the quarter with a three-pointer for 71:43.

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Zadar calmly brought the game to an end. In the last quarter, more attention was paid to the stands than to the floor. Zadar fans lit torches and celebrated their new title.

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Zadar: Carter 15, Jordano 22, Justice, Palokaj, Brala, Vukovic 7, Bursac 4, Junakovic 4, Mavra 11, Onuaku 19, Planinic 2, Kraljevic.

Split: Perkovic 3, Perasovic 5, Kedzo 2, Ukic 18, Marcinkovic, Bajo 2, Champara, Babic 5, Vrankovic 2, Lukovic 9, Maric 6, Mesicek 5.

Referees: Luka Kardum, Tomislav Vovk, Bojan Kruljac

Source: Dalmatinski Portal

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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

KK Split Sensationally Stops another Zadar Match-point to Tie the Series

June 2, 2021 - 81:68 (44:37) KK Split victory sends the national finals into a decisive game 5 in Zadar on Friday.

Zadar had already celebrated with its fans from the balcony of Krešimir Ćosić Sports Center after the win on Friday to take a 2:0 lead in the series. Then at the game on Monday, the guests were already 16 points ahead in the second quarter and looked like the next champions. Now it looks like they celebrated too early. After tonight's defeat, Zadar will have a home-court advantage, but the Yellows now have the momentum on their side.

Split showed a remarkable reaction already during the last game. After a dunk from the Yellows' big man Luka Babić, Zadar had to take a timeout. On the way to the bench, Marko Luković from Split and Aleksandar Bursać from Zadar got into a verbal dispute that caused the teams to go head to head on the court and home coach Mile Karakaš had to wrestle Luković to the ground to save him from further disciplinary punishment. Both players were ejected and it became a turning point in the series. Zadar seemed to have lost all energy while Split started to dominate the game and managed to cut the lead by end of regular time and then easily won the game in overtime.

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Both "fighters" were allowed to play again today and the game started with both teams playing on the same level. Changing leads with good outside scoring was the predominant situation in the first minutes before Zadar was able to pull away 14:21 after 9 minutes and close the quarter at 19:23.

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The guests managed to lead until Split came back with a double punch. A three-pointer by Toni Perković marked the 25:27 in the 13th minute before another three-pointer by Perasović gave the Yellows a 28:27 lead. 

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KK Zadar fought back and both teams were exchanging leads before Perković marked the 33:31 and Split managed to have a run to reach its biggest lead of the first half at 44:36 just before half-time (44:37).

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The second half started with both teams respecting one another and none wanting to lose ground. There was a long time without scoring before Marko Luković showed the positive side of his game by hitting 2 back-to-back three-pointers to give the hosts a 56:42 lead who managed to maintain the lead until 62:48 at the end of the third quarter.

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Zadar could not come back and Split managed to use its homecourt advantage for the second time and now has a shot at the title again on Friday when the decisive game at Krešimir Ćosić Sports Center will produce the 2020/2021 Croatian National Basketball Champions. 

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The best players of the night were Toni Perković with 18 points (4/8 three-pointers) and Marko Luković 17 points (5/8 three-pointers). Mavra, Onuaku, and Carter were able to score double digits for the guests. 

Referees: Tomislav Vovk, Alfred Jovovich, Bojan Kruljac

Boxscore: https://fibalivestats.dcd.shared.geniussports.com/u/HKS/1884521/ 

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Monday, 31 May 2021

Croatian Basketball Finals Game 3: Split Stays Alive with Overtime Win against Zadar!

May 31, 2021 - KK Split stays alive with an overtime win against Zadar in the Croatian basketball finals game 3 in Split on Monday (83:75). 

Split and Zadar met at Gripe in Split for the third game of the Croatian basketball championship finals. Zadar celebrated in the first two games, and one victory separated them from the title.

Ukić opened the match with a basket, and Bursać returned the favor on the other side with a three-pointer. In the fourth minute, Vranković scored for 6:8, and in the next four and a half minutes, Zadar's Mavra, Justice, and Bursać had a 13:0 series for the 21:6 lead in the ninth minute. Marić missed two free throws but got both in the next attack. Carter closed the quarter with a cross from the center at the last second. Carter hit a buzzer-beater to end the 1st quarter at 10:24 for Zadar.

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Split burst into the 2nd quarter with newfound energy, but it wasn't too much for Zadar to handle. Zadar had more offensive rebounds. Carter scored for 26:10, and Ukić returned the favor with a three-pointer. Mesiček also scored (15:26), and Planinić was precise on the other side of the floor. Babić scored a three-pointer for 18:28, and Split did not score in the next four minutes. Zadar scored four points and led 32:18 by the 17th minute.

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Luković scored a three-pointer, and after Perković was blocked in the counter by Bursać, Karakaš reacted violently and earned a technical. Justice scored a free throw for 21:35. Ukić scored a three-pointer, followed by a Perković field goal. The heat between Bursać and Luković resulted in a fight on the floor, and both players were excluded. Ukić scored a three-pointer, and Zadar only had a six-point advantage at halftime (29:35).

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Ukić opened the 3rd quarter with a three-pointer for Split (32:35). Vuković made two free throws, and then Onuaku scored (32:39). Ukić reduced the lead to 35:39 with his fifth three-pointer, but Zadar retaliated with a three-pointer by Mavra and Justice (35:44). Perković nailed a three-pointer, and Ukić was fouled (41:44). Jordano scored five consecutive points (41:49), but Ukić returned (43:49). Thanks to Marić, Split reached 52:55 in the last minute of the 3rd quarter (54:49). 
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Split was minus two (57:59) to start the final quarter. Zadar again reached a six-point advantage thanks to Carter and Onuaku. The 'Yellows' came to 61:63 with a three-pointer by Marčinković, but Zadar fought back. Carter scored for three (61:67). Five minutes before the end, Marić knocked for 68:69, but Carter soon returned (68:71). Split was in the lead for the first time (72:71) with Ukić's baskets from the free-throw line. With just over two minutes to go, Vuković missed, Onuaku jumped in the attack, and Jordano returned the advantage to Zadar with a three-pointer. Ukić was brilliant to score for 74:74. In the final minute, Junaković and Ukić could not score, moving the game to overtime.

Split managed to win in overtime 83:75, bringing the series to game 4 in Split on Wednesday! 

Source: Dalmatinski Portal 

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Friday, 28 May 2021

KK Zadar Only One More Win Away from Croatian Championship Title

May 28, 2021 - KK Split fought but was missing the necessary edge and luck to make a difference at 73:58 (28:28).

In the first game of the Croatian National Basketball Championship Finals, Zadar convincingly celebrated a victory against Split (81:53). Zadar dominated the entire match and with their dedication, they took the first step towards lifting the trophy for the third time. The main reason for the Zadar celebration was their defense. Coach Veljko Mršić’s squad played with high intensity and aggression. Zadar had 10 rebounds more than the guests and forced Split to 17 turnovers.

During the first match, Antonio Jordano was extremely successful from the three-point range, hitting three of his 6 attempts.

"We played a really good game but we have to leave that behind because the series is long. I think that in the next game we have to play as aggressively and focused as possible because that is the only way we will be able to fulfill some of the goals we agreed on. We have to be at a high level in defense and attack, I think that is the key for tomorrow's game. We have shown that we play as a team, we play as a team, and that is the most important thing," said Antonio Jordano last night.

At the same press conference, Veljko Mršić said that one should be careful after the first game. "I expect a good Split, it is still a team that beat Cibona twice in the semifinals. We have no right to relax after yesterday's victory, regardless of the fact that we have beaten Split four times in a row. We have to continue like this, because this is only the first third of the road, we have two more steps to win the title, that is our wish. We are going step by step, tomorrow is a new game and we are just thinking about that," said Veljko Mršić.

The normally very relaxed guest coach Mile Karakaš became very emotional during the second half of the game and stayed in Zadar with his team to fully focus on finding a way to crack the Zadar defense. He was able to start with his full roster including Perković who had missed the last game. 

The game started with slight advantages for the home team. Towards the end of the first quarter, Split brought the game to Marin Marić who could not be stopped. However, Zadar was able to pull away again with the last two attacks of the first quarter including a buzzer-beater by Carter for an 18:13 lead. 

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The Yellows were able to shake off the first loss and the issues of the first quarter and continued to put pressure on Zadar's big men. Despite a low shooting percentage, Split stayed in the game and put up a good fight for the rebounds. With Marić scoring 11 points in the first half, the guests tied the game 28:28 at halftime. 

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Milan Karakaš had to watch his team's luck run out in the second half. His team kept fighting against the constantly delivering home team but neither free throws nor important outside shots found their way into the basket.

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Zadar out-rebounded the guests in the second half by 21:8 while Split could not even score from the free-throw line. A mere 3 shots out of nine found their target.

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Despite his team having the upper hand, Zadar's top scorer Chinanu Michael Onuaku (19 points) showed some unsportsmanlike conduct in several situations towards the end of the game leading to a verbal dispute with Luka Babić after the final whistle. Maybe he sparked the fire that Split will need to get back into this series.

The next two games will be played in Split on Monday and Wednesday. Zadar only needs one more win to finish the season with their third title.

Referees: Luka Kardum, Tomislav Vovk, Alfred Jovović

Box score: https://fibalivestats.dcd.shared.geniussports.com/u/HKS/1884507/

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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Zadar Sets the Tone in First Game of Croatian Basketball Finals

May 26, 2021 - Game 1 of the Croatian basketball finals was played tonight in Zadar. Split was without any chance at an 81:53 (48:21) loss to Zadar. 

It has been 13 years since KK Split had a shot to win the national basketball championship trophy. They succeeded with the help of veteran Dino Rađa who had put on the yellow jersey before he retired his career. 

Three people remember those days very well. Srđan Subotić, Roko Leni Ukić, and Mateo Kedžo all were part of the last Split team to make it to the finals and win eventually. Today Subotić is the assistant coach, Kedžo is the team captain and Ukić returned to the team mid-season to have another shot at the title. They beat Cibona Zagreb in two straight games and one day more rest than the hosts.

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FOTO: KK ZADAR / ŠIME ZELIĆ

In the Dalmatian derby, it is their opponent KK Zadar, however, who played the more convincing season. The two-time Croatian champion, ABA League Champion, and eight-time Croatian cup winner finished the regular season at the top and has a homecourt advantage in the Best-Of-Five finals. They start the series with two home games before the games go to Split for up to two games. Should no team have three victories by then, the final game will be played in Zadar again.

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Zadar surprisingly needed 3 games to beat Gorica to make it to the finals but started into the game well tonight. Coach Veljko Mršić's team was very focused in the first quarter and outscored the Yellows 17:7. The guest team from Split did not look good in the aerial battles and could not hit the open shots. Zadar had several offensive rebounds for additional tries and even stopped Split's last two attacks with blocks. 

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It got worse for Split Coach Mile Karakaš who had to watch his team being outscored in the first 4 minutes of the second quarter by 13:3. Zadar was up 30:9 before Ukić showed a sign of life by nailing a 3 point shot. Mesiček added another one to get to 30:15.

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Any hope that came up for Split did not last long. Zadar dominated the game at both ends of the court and a dunk from Onuaku to make the 48:21 just 2:28 into the second half pretty much ended the game already. The hosts increased their lead to up to 31 points at the beginning of the final quarter before letting the reigns a bit looser for the last minutes. 

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Split will need to come back with some kind of response in the game on Friday if they want to stay in this battle for their second Croatian national title.

The top scorer of the game was Zadar's captain Dominik Mavra with 17 points. Chineanu Michael Onuaku scored a double-double with 10 rebounds and 12 points. Split's Blaž Mesiček was the only guest player to score double-digits (14 points).

Referees: Tomislav Hordov, Denis Hadžić, Josip Jurčević

Box score: https://fibalivestats.dcd.shared.geniussports.com/u/HKS/1884506/ 

Croatian Basketball Championship Finals schedule: 

Game 2: KK Zadar - KK Split will be played on May 28, 2021, in Zadar at "Krešimir Ćosić" hall, Splitska 3, starting at 18:00 with a live broadcast at Arena Sport.

Game 3: KK Split - KK Zadar will be played on May 31, 2021, in Split, at the "Split" Basketball Hall, Ulica slobode 16 b, starting at 21:00, with a live broadcast at the Arena Sport HRT.

Game 4: KK Split - KK Zadar will be played on June 2, 2021, in Split, at the "Split" Basketball Hall, Ulica slobode 16 b

Game 5: KK Zadar - KK Split will be played on June 5, 2021 in Zadar, at "Krešimir Ćosić" hall, Splitska 3

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Saturday, 22 May 2021

KK Split in Croatian Basketball Championship Finals after 13 Years!

May 22, 2021 - On Thursday, KK Split managed to stay in the ABA League. Less than 24 hours later, they qualified for the Croatian basketball championship finals. 

In the second game of the semifinals, Split defeated Cibona 93:71 in Zagreb and thus went 2-0 in the series. They will play against the winner of Zadar and Gorica which is currently 1-1.

After the first quarter, Cibona had a 28:27 advantage, but at halftime, KK Split was up by 7. Split's excellent game continued in the third quarter when they led by 19, and in the fourth, the advantage only grew to confirm a spot in the finals.

Roko-Leni Ukić scored 18 points as the most efficient KK Split player, and Marko Luković added 16 points. Darko Planinić led Cibona with 16 points.

After 13 years, Split entered the Croatian championship finals, and the Yellows recorded their seventh victory against Cibona this season.

In the first semifinal game, Split celebrated convincingly 95-80.

Because of the tight schedule and Split's ABA League relegation game on Thursday, there was tension between Cibona and Split. KK Split wanted to move the date of the second semifinal match against Cibona to May 22, to which the Croatian Basketball Federation agreed, but they also needed Cibona's consent. The Zagreb club ultimately refused. 

"I think two things were important in today's game. One is that we didn't give ourselves any excuse given what we've been going through the last few days and to realize that today was the biggest chance to win," the KK Split coach Mile Karakas said and added that Cibona did not surprise them with their game.

"After 6:0, the reality was that Cibona would come out as strong as possible at the beginning. When we rejected that first and second blow, we knew that they would fall and that our quality would come forward," added Karakas, who is thrilled to be in KK Split's first Croatian final after 13 long years.

KK Split was welcomed home to Gripe with a flare spectacle which you can see below. 

Source: HRT, Gol.hr

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Thursday, 20 May 2021

KK Split Stays in ABA League 1!

May 20, 2021 - KK Split leaves Sarajevo without a chance in the final relegation game for the ABA League 1 - 90:60 (47:26).

The third game of the ABA League had to bring the final decision after Spars Sarajevo surprised everyone with a close victory in the series opener at Gripe last week to put Split under pressure. The Yellows then had to win in Sarajevo on Saturday to keep their chances alive for another season in the 1st division. KK Split did tie the series with a strong appearance and followed up by winning the opener of the national playoff semi-finals on Tuesday against Cibona Zagreb.

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All eyes were on Spars' coach Modrag Kadija and his young talented squad to see if they could come up with a strategy to pull it off one more time against Split's large and experienced roster as a highly favored side. Big man and rising star Kenan Kamenjaš had to work hard for his 11 points tonight. 

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In Sarajevo and against Cibona the Yellows had massive support for their inside players from their outside shooters who displayed excellent marksmanship and pulled the opposite defenders far out of the zone to give the big men more space to play one on one. 

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Today it was team captain Mateo Kedzo who decided the game already in the first half by scoring 13 points in only 7 minutes and 23 seconds without missing any of his attempts. 

The experienced leaders Kedzo and Ulić gave the team the necessary self-confidence which they had lacked in game one. 

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With the large lead at half-time, Split coach Mile Karakaš was able to rotate all his players through in the second half and the team did not lose any tension. Split's talent Perković, Bajo, and Čampara kept scoring for the favored team to further increase the lead.

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The team was able to apologize for last week's loss to veteran Toni Kukoč who was honored before the game after having been nominated to join the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this week. 

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Not being able to close the series in two games now puts the Yellows into a tight schedule, however. The second game in the national semifinals will be played in Zagreb tomorrow. The hosts objected to giving Split an additional 24 hours to rest. Quite a remarkable show of sportsmanship or better the lack thereof. But with Split having gained this much momentum during the last 3 games, it may well prove to have been the wrong approach by Cibona. The game will start at 18:00 at Dražen Petrović Hall.

Referees: Saša Pukl, Sašo Petek, Mario Majkić

Boxscore: https://www.aba-liga.com/match/3/20/8/Overview/q1/1/home/split-spars/

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