BASKETBALL – Salah Kone: “The players did not forget the defeat in the first game”
Salah Kone had to smile after his team’s big victory (79-71) over Dourges, the leader of the championship.
Can we imagine the satisfaction of bringing down the leader and putting in a great performance?
I’m absolutely delighted because it’s the type of match we like to play and it’s a good performance. The players had not forgotten the defeat we could have suffered in the first game and they reminded me of it in the dressing room. They wanted revenge. When you have such a close-knit team going in the same direction, it’s just bliss for a coach.
The key to today’s game was defense.
Yes, that’s right, and the first word roughly written in the locker room was “defense.” We knew that they were a team that scored a lot of goals, but when they defended well, the ratio was around 75 points. We aimed to keep them under that bar and we did. We showed a lot of intensity and a very good defensive performance. We never gave up. I told them that there will be ups and downs, not to let it go. If we lose our promotion game, if we think we can wait 30 seconds before starting something, give it a second chance, it’s all over. This was not the case and the victory is in the end.
One of the turning points of the match is the start of the third quarter, you were able to come back at the right time to not let them off easy.
Yes, this is a team that is used to leading, and when they lead, they often go down. The lead was made, they came back, we pushed back and stepped the intensity up a notch and were able to hold on. We had a problem with the zone defense we were working on because we knew they were going to run over it at some point. At the time, there was confusion over the forms of the game, but once we found the key, we found solutions that made them go back to man-to-man.
You’re winning, but you’re putting up 10+ points on the line, “easy” baskets, lots of turnovers, does that prove the team still has a point differential?
Yes, we make a lot of points along the way, especially on a line that is so complicated today. When we shot, there was something on top of the circle, I don’t know (laughs). After seeing the breakdown of energy defensively, we also have to accept the waste to mentally master the formations and rotations I ask of them. We can have less, that’s for sure sometimes by not rushing too much, but playing at a very fast pace. It’s part of the game and you have to accept it.
Despite the lack of rotation, you were physically perfect tonight.
During the Christmas break, we cut very little, and even did some physical training. It pays today and maybe lets you take the match today. We don’t have players who are completely burnt on their feet when the intensity is very high. This is a good thing for the future, because you have to be physically fit to last until the end. Indeed, we all struggle, communicate, want to pass, etc. At the beginning of the season, we took the hit a little early, spending the extra playing time we needed.
When you hit shots like you did at the beginning of the match, it’s hard to play
You have found a foreign address, this has given you the greatest benefit.
Yes, we need to be more skilled in this regard and today was better, even if sometimes we took too fast or forced shots. It’s also because we got the right shots and moved the ball better. When you hit shots like you did at the beginning of the match, it’s hard to play. Then you should know that you are less successful, that you are an alternative, and that you must shoot when you are open. We did it today and that’s why we won.
Morally, will this victory give confidence in the future?
Yes, it’s still a classic win from an accounting point of view, but it’s actually going to be good, especially since there’s a road. We want to be unbearable at home and lose as little as possible. We continue our streak and must continue to reach our goals.
Esclams – Dourges: 79-71 (25-18, 15-22, 20-14, 19-17)
Collisions : Koné.L 9 – Sinoquet 2 – Hure 13 – Jouvin 12 – Petris 11 – Tolliver 16 – Koné.S 16 – Kerrout 0
Dourges : Odouala 20 – Delavalle 5 – Hercend 0 – Marnette 4 – Rokicki 27 – Guidez 1 – Cretaux 2 – Kisema Masini 0 – Lusakueno 12
Photo credit: David – Gazette Sports