The domestic playoffs started with six teams in both Belgium and Netherlands. Seeds #1 and #2 are already placed for the semifinals, while #3-6 play for the other two spots. The losers of these battles will join the next stage of the overall BNXT League playoffs.
— BNXTLeague (@BnxtLeague) April 25, 2022
Excitement in Groningen
Donar faced Aris Leeuwarden, winners of the Elite Silver stage and clinchers of 6th spot, while Donar was the 3rd Dutch team in Elite Gold. In this best-of-3, Donar had home court advantage. In the first game it was Aris that surprisingly took a 36-38 lead at halftime. The main difference in this game was the shortage of 3-pointers from Donar. They made just 4 of 28 attempts, while Aris scored 14/41. Aris took a 59-72 lead, and whilst Donar came back to 69-72, it was not enough.
Vanavond de beslissende wedstrijd!
🥁Link naar de kaartverkoop voor het uitvak via onze site.
📺 BNXT tv en Ziggo Sport pic.twitter.com/WBE1vlzibm
— Aris Leeuwarden (@Aris_Leeuwarden) May 7, 2022
The second game in Leeuwarden was completely different. Aris began with a 3-point score and after that missed almost every shot in the first half. They sank just 1/15 from behind the arc in the first half and Donar took a massive 20-60 lead. Obviously this gap was big enough to cruise to victory, 62-99. The series was drawn at 1-1.
In the final game, Donar was the better team, but Aris refused to collapse. Donar lead by 13 points in both Q2 and Q3, but saw Aris coming back to 70-64 at the end of the third quarter. In the beginning of the final quarter, Donar stepped up their game, scoring three straight 3-point shots. This was the nail in the coffin for Aris, and the game ended in 99-82.
In the other series, Landstede Hammers beat Feyenoord both at home and away and won the series 2-0.
Nerve-wrecking series in Belgium
Antwerp Giants and Belfius Mons were the #4 and #5 seeds of Belgium in the Elite Gold tournament. The Giants started the series at home and delivered a basketball show. Six players made 10 points or more. With a 2-point rate of 74% and a 3-point rate of 63%, Antwerp was unstoppable in the first game. In Q1, Belfius Mons were still able to keep up and even took the lead, 19-20. In the following three quarters, Antwerp scored 92 points in total, blowing Mons away. The first game went to Antwerp 111-79.
In the regular season Mons won at home, so they knew they had a chance in the second game. Antwerp started strong again in the first half, taking a 36-41 lead. Mons didn’t fare much better in the second half, but they improved their defense. Antwerp only shot 33% and Mons came back into the game. The game was close till the end where Antwerp took a 61-64 lead. Mons then tied the game 64-64 and overtime was needed. Antwerp seemed tired and Mons dominated overtime, with a final score of 77-73.
In the final game of the series Antwerp began strongly once more, though it didn’t last. Mons had the belief to reduce a nine-point deficit and by the hand of Emmanuel Nzekwesi they started their comeback. Nzekwesi scored a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Mons fighted back and by the end of Q3, they had a 11-point lead. They successfully defended this lead in Q4 and upset Antwerp 64-74.
Leuven Bears have problems with Spirou Charleroi
Leuven Bears was in a great form in Elite Gold, only losing two matches. Spirou Charleroi were the best Belgian team from Elite Silver. In the regular season however, Leuven lost both matches against Spirou. In the first game on Tuesday Leuven made the difference in Q3. Up to that point, both teams were equal, but suddenly Leuven accelerated away with a 18-2 run. This decided the game in their favor with an 80-63 score.
The second game showed exactly the same pattern, but the other way around. From 39-38, Spirou suddenly placed a 15-0 run, which immediately decided the game. Leuven came closer, though it was not enough and they lost the second game 73-66.
Leuven was the favorite for the deciding game as they went unbeaten at home in Elite Gold. In Q1 the Bears immediately took a 15-3 lead. It was still early in the game though and Charleroi fought back. Halfway through Q3 the difference was cut to just four points. This was the closest Spirou would come, as KeVaughn Allen lead Leuven Bears to a 90-77 win, scoring 25 points.