Zadar won the 9th Cup in the Grotto of Gripa, masterful Luka Božić to a historic triple double!

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Victory over Cibonom 80-68 Zadar won the Krešimir Ćosić Cup, his ninth, which tied him with Cibona, Cedevita remained at seven, Split at five… “Tonight is our party” shouted the Gripama after the match and the celebration of Zadar, which was once again led by “triple double Luka Božić “. Although the final match of the Krešimir Ćosić Basketball Cup was played in Split, the atmosphere in the hall at Gripe was as if it was played in Zadar. And not in Višnjik, but in the legendary Jazine.

Split: Krešimir Ćosić cup final, Cibona - Zadar

Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/PIXSELL

The atmosphere in the stands was heated, and on the derby field, the so many times seen trial of two great rivals, who after 21 years played again in the cup final against Split’s Gripi… On the one hand, rugged Zadar, who dominates under the leadership of Danijel Jusup, and on the other, Cibona shaken by financial problems due to which it is forced to play with a reduced staff in domestic competitions.

From the first minute, Repesa sent Radovčić, Aranitović, Majcunić, Vuković and Bundović to the floor, while Jusup, on the other hand, trusted Božić, Ramljak, Davis, Mazalin and Lakić. Considering the available personnel and the dominance of Zadar in the game under the baskets, Cibona started as expected with a zone defense, Zadar responded with three-pointers by Božić and Lakić for an initial lead of 8-6, and they kept the advantage until the end of the first quarter, which ended with a score of 13 – 12.

Split: Krešimir Ćosić cup final, Cibona - Zadar

Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/PIXSELL

In the second quarter, Cibona’s good defense came to the fore, they shut down the racket, Zadar didn’t score from outside, so the Zagreb team made a 5-0 mini-series after only a few minutes, thanks in the first place to their best player, the returning Filip Bundović. But in situations when Zadar stops, when they don’t have a solution, the ball regularly goes into the hands of Luka Božić, who sparks something, assists, scores a three-pointer… It was the same tonight, Božić led his team to seven with two three-pointers in the 16-5 series basket advantage in the 16th minute, and after a short break, with three more three-pointers by Lakić, Žganec and Božić, Zadran reached 38-27 at the end of the first half. Along with nine 3-pointers made with 40% accuracy, even 12 more Zadar rebounds were decisive.

Zadar opened the second half with a three-pointer from Lakić, and then continued to bury Cibona’s basket with an outside shot, completely atypical for them. Neither Split, nor Cedevita junior, nor Cibona clearly have an answer to Zadar’s game with five versatile tall players, each of whom can play with his back to the basket, but also score an outside shot. Jusup’s rotation regularly includes Božić, Drežnjak, Žganec, Ramljak, Lakić and Mazalin, while Davis and occasionally Mekić get mini roles. Regardless of the fact that it is known to everyone, and that everyone is trying in different ways to stop the Zadar machine, it is simply too strong. Especially if they are served by a shot like tonight.

Split: Krešimir Ćosić cup final, Cibona - Zadar

Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/PIXSELL

Every time Cibona pulled to a decent margin, Zadar responded with three-pointers, as Drežnjak and Božić did at the end of the third quarter for 61-54. Cibona held on bravely, but little by little their strength and power waned, six minutes before the end Vuković was eliminated for five personal attacks, they tried and failed to solve five consecutive attacks with three-pointers, so Zadar returned to a high 12-point advantage five minutes before the end of the game, and they kept their advantage until the very end. Jusup made a left move, at the end of the game he pulled his main assets from the floor, gave Tornad the opportunity to greet them, and the explosion of joy in the stands merged with the last sound of the siren and the final victory of Zadar 80-68.

Luka Božić scored 27 points, added 10 rebounds and assists and only one turnover. It is the first “triple double” in the history of the Krešimir Ćosić Cup final!

The players rushed to hug each other, then greeted the fans who filled Gripe with applause as if the match was played in Zadar. Hours before the start of the match, Gripe were under siege by Zadar fans. Many people were probably early to watch the match between Rudeš and Hajduk, but even before the end of the football match, the people of Zadar rushed to the stands, in order to take the best possible position and welcome their pets to the warm-up.

Split: Krešimir Ćosić cup final, Cibona - Zadar

Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/PIXSELL

All available tickets were sold out the day before the match, and the majority were clearly bought by Zadar fans, and the rest by the people of Split who came to support their neighbors, as they used to when they traveled to Zadar for important matches. The younger audience may be less aware that Zadar is in fact the older brother of Split and that the people of Zadar are responsible for the expansion of basketball in Split 80 or more years ago. And the fact that the student, former Jugoplastika and now Split, far surpassed the teacher with five European trophies, is another story.

In any case, a club that has fans like Zadar has, who are ready to travel in thousands to the Cup final and be not only important, but also a decisive factor in winning the Kreša trophy, cannot cause anything but admiration and respect. Something that is not a rarity in basketball halls in Croatia, but a unique case that we can all admire together.





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