Semi-final play-offs: Stade Rochelais and Buchanan tame the Rouen Leopards (73-70)

Semi-final play-offs: Stade Rochelais and Buchanan tame the Rouen Leopards (73-70)
Semi-final play-offs: Stade Rochelais and Buchanan tame the Rouen Leopards (73-70)

Like an imp, US leader Tray Buchanan came out of his box at the best time. Less in sight in recent weeks, the MVP of the regular season and future player of Le Mans (Betclic Elite) drew a long-distance shot (see the video), which sealed the outcome of this first leg of the play semi-finals. -accession offs 15 seconds from the buzzer, in a Gaston-Neveur room in turmoil. Final score, 73 to 70, with 18 points for the Maritime playmaker. In fact, the Rochelais led almost the entire match, like their good start to the match (13-2), but they were never able to completely break the Rouennais.

Witness to the fierceness of the fight, the bruised shoulder of the young leader Mathéo Leray. Julien Cortey’s men were 9 points ahead in the first act (25-16) before a comeback from the Leopards (14-20) who came back three lengths at half-time. Trailing 54 to 38 at the end of the third quarter (19-14), the promoted Normans picked up the score in the final (15-20) and maintained the suspense until the end. Until the decisive shot of who you know.

Like the support match won in Orléans at the end of a crazy end to the game, this team never gives up. That’s good, it’s also the trademark of Stade Rochelais, which is only one success away from reaching the final of the accession play-offs. The return match Tuesday evening at the Kindarena in Rouen promises to be electric. In the event of an equalization of the RMB, the support match will be played next Friday at Gaston-Neveur. In the other semi-final, Vichy-Clermont took the advantage by dominating Boulazac, 91 to 74, in Auvergne.

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The reactions

Sylvain Delorme (Rouen coach) : We have a young group. There are lessons we must learn. We have youth and enthusiasm, sometimes we make mistakes, that’s how it is. We will work to be more efficient for the second match. We have to put all our heart into it. We try to make the dream last a little longer. We will try to make things difficult in La Rochelle. It’s the best team in the championship with the best coach of the season, it’s not an easy task but we will try.

Jérôme Sanchez (Stade Rochelais winger) : We knew it would be a battle from the first to the last second. We had already had some problems against them during the season… It could be very dangerous tonight. We managed to control most of the match, it was a real fight, we’re really happy. It’s only half the job that’s done, now we’re going to try to get her. It would be great for us and for our supporters who have followed us since the beginning of the year. We know that we have at least one big battle to fight in a great atmosphere. That’s also the charm of the play-offs.

Julien Cortey (Stade Rochelais coach): We didn’t expect a sinecure. Both teams played the match that everyone expected. There was commitment, intensity, two great teams who defended hard. This makes for a playoff match in the making. It’s 1 to 0 for us, we’ll see what happens next. We knew it was going to be a hell of a fight… There’s a place in the final, we’ve been working for 10 months for that. We give everything, they give everything. We played the match we wanted, leaving Rouen at 70 points, it’s a great performance, but we haven’t done anything yet, we won a match.”

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