The cheering knew no bounds this evening. As has been common practice in American college basketball for decades, the cut-down net in the Lions Dome became a “scalp” for the Welser Cup heroes. The successful coach then received a water shower from his players in front of the cameras. In the seventh year of their existence, the Raiffeisen Flyers celebrated the greatest success in the club’s young history with a 71:66 win over Traiskirchen in the cup final. “We have been working for a day like this for a long time,” said Wels coach Sebastian Waser after the coup, which, like all other victories before this cup season, was achieved by his team away from home.
Until the last quarter in the Traiskirchner gymnasium cauldron in front of 850 spectators, including many Wels fans who had traveled with us, it was an absolutely eye-to-eye duel. It was 53:53 before the final period. The preliminary phase was initiated by Wels sniper Arvydas Gydra, who was rightly named Most Valuable Player (MVP) after the game because of his 25 points, 5:25 minutes before the final siren. He put Welser back in the lead with 61:60, followed up a little later with a three-pointer and then hit a free throw.
Nevertheless, after some controversial referee decisions, which Traiskirchen in particular struggled with, things remained dicey in the finish. But because playmaker Terrell Allen suddenly started scoring at the end after stalling for most of the game and captain Christian von Fintel ice-coldly made the decision with two baskets from the free throw line eight seconds before the end, the title was finally sealed.
The Welser success had many heroes. For example, veteran Chris Ferguson, who limped from one basket to the other for long periods of the game, but kept winning important balls. “All the pain is forgotten with this triumph. I had problems with my ankle and it also hurt my back,” said the self-sacrificing US legionnaire. The ever-poisonous Welser youngsters Elvir Jakupovic and Radii Caisin, like many others, also contributed to the cup victory with their performance. In 2006, the predecessor club WBC achieved the only one for the trade fair city so far.
“We wanted to bring Wels a title, and that’s exactly what we achieved,” Waser cheered. After returning home yesterday, the celebrations continued long into the night.
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