KK Zadar, KK Split, basketball, košarka
PHOTO: Croatian Basketball Federation

KK ZADAR DEFENDED THE TITLE OF CROATIAN CHAMPION

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KK Zadar is the champions of Croatia in basketball for the 2023/24 season! In the master’s match for the champion, which was played tonight at Višnjik, KK Zadar once again showed what it means to be a basketball city, and they carried their team to a convincing victory 93:66.

For KK Zadar, this is the 11th national championship title, the fifth since Croatia became independent, and the 22nd trophy in the club’s history.

KK Zadar fans hoped that the guests would succumb to the atmosphere in the first quarter as in last year’s final, but Slaven Rimac’s team opened the game very calmly, with several hit three-pointers and quick penetrations by Kučić, they managed to take a 10:13 lead. The support from the stands still gave the Zadar team the strength to quickly get back into the rhythm and with a series of 16:5, with a three-pointer from Lakić in the last attack, at the end of the quarter they were +8 (26:18).

It was just an introduction to what followed in the second quarter: in five minutes of the game, KK Zadar increased the account by 12 points, Split by only 4 and the lead had already gone to +16 (38:22). KK Split was threatened by the scenario from last season, but managed to consolidate enough to remain at a theoretically achievable 18 (49:31).

A minute and a half into the second half, that hope should have been extinguished: three attacks, three three-pointers (two by Lakić and Ramljak), KK Zadar leads 58:31 and the fans slowly prepare for the final celebration. “It’s very good to see you again, to put my hand on your shoulders”, sang Zadrani, Drežnjak and Lakić scored new three-pointers for 64:31 and it doesn’t take much imagination to conclude how everything ended.

Zadar was led to victory by the best player in Croatia Luka Božić with 19 points and Arijan Lakić with 18. Shorter was the most effective player from Split with 18 points.

This was the 77th match of the season, I don’t know how many we won, how many we lost. These last two were top notch, if I were to describe my boys I would say that they are the best when it is most needed. This shows how important the selection of characters was. Many people welcomed them with skepticism two years ago, but for two years now we have dominated Croatia, won the championship and the cup, we have the MVP of the ABA league and the championship, the best coach of the ABA league. We have to remain humble, cheer up and push on. You have other teams that have quality, but it doesn’t manifest itself in key games. This team plays at its best when it is most needed, with the quality we have. At the training session before the fourth game, I talked to Božić, he told me “it is out of the question that we lose

Danijel Jusup, KK Zadar head coach

Congratulations to the players and the coach of Zadar. Zadar is a very responsible team, maybe they have a shorter rotation in these games, but every player knows their role. Today they dominated, we missed a chance in the fourth game which was a psychological drop, maybe we wanted too much. It’s difficult in Višnjik, from my experience as a player and later as a coach, you have to be mentally prepared and have a higher quality, it’s not easy for the players or the referees. I congratulate Zadar once again, a well-deserved win

Slaven Rimac, KK Split head coach

SOURCE: Croatian Basketball Federation

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