Basketball

Published on March 17th, 2014 | by John Lyons

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Brave Chile so close in epic basketball final

The Chile women´s basketball team´s dreams of South American Games gold were dashed in an epic overtime final against Argentina.

Ñuñoa – After Chile´s men suffered an 85-54 mauling at the hands of the Argentinians, all hopes were resting on the women to earn a basketball gold medal.

In an extraordinary final, they gave it everything they had, but eventually came up just short. And there was no doubt that Chile’s star player Ziomara Morrison deserved a gold medal.

She showed nerves of steel amid unbearable tension to sink two free throws with three seconds of the match left and force overtime.

However, it was Argentina who came on strong in the extra five-minute period to win a classic match that will live long in the memory.

Argentina had raced into a 24-14 lead in the first quarter aided by some controversial refereering decisions that angered the packed Centro de Entrenamiento Olímpico II crowd.

With the spectators creating an ear-splitting din, Chile had to work hard for long spells to try to close the gap. By half-time, the lead had been cut to five points and the home side turned things around to lead 55-51 at the end of the third quarter.

Chile led by six points at one stage in the fourth, but Argentina refused to go away and were inspired by the highly-influential Sthefany Thomas.  Indeed, at one point it seemed as though the match was a personal battle between Morrison and Thomas.

With 45 seconds left, Morrison conjured up a three-point play to put Chile 69-67 ahead and the fired up crowd were shouting ´MVP, MVP´. However, it was only the start of the fun.

Thomas showed she could do anything that Morrison could by sinking a brilliant three-pointer. It gave Argentina a one-point lead and then Thomas had two free shots with 7.5 seconds to go. She got the first, but missed the second to make it a two-point game.

Then came a foul on Morrison and the crowd held their breath to see if she could score the two free throws. Somehow, she did it – and even then Thomas missed a shot on the buzzer that would have won it for the visitors.

In overtime, Argentina raced into an early lead, but Barbara Cousiño hit a three-pointer and tacked on one from the free throw line to make it all-square again.

Chile were always up against it, though, and Argentina just had that little bit extra. The hosts couldn´t get the ball into the right hands – Morrision or Cousiño – in the closing stages and ultimately fell 85-80.

However, they deserved their standing ovation at the end after giving the spectators – and those watching on television at home – a match of high drama and sheer quality.

For Chile, Morrison finished with a magnificent haul of 34 points, while Thomas hit 32 for the visitors, who celebrated wildly at the end. You couldn´t blame them after such an electric encounter.

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2 Responses to Brave Chile so close in epic basketball final

  1. Pingback: South American Games – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly | I Love Chile News

  2. Pingback: South American Games – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly | chile.rss-noticias.com

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