Nardò Basket’s historic third tournament in A2 begins with a defeat against Pala San Giuseppe da Cobertino in Lecce. After a difficult pre-season, Di Carlo’s men looked classy against Abou Udine, one of the big names in the red squad. But speed, good defensive performance and courage to challenge a highly ranked opponent were not enough. The Friulian side won by five points, but Toro remains confident and aware of the improvement.
Nardo starts with Maspero, Smith, Latorre, Stewart and Iannuzzi. The first basket of the 2023/2024 tournament is by Ross Smith, a delicious breakout and lob. What follows is a bomb from La Torre, a diving solo from Iannuzzi, a roll-up and a shot from Stewart on the first +9 shot and the inevitable Juventus timeout. The first three points for the visitors arrived even after 3:50″, and Nereto’s defense was initially the protagonist due to its intensity and attention. But Udine regrouped and scored with Da Ros, Delia and above all Mirza Alibegovic in a very heavy counterattack (0- 15). Di Carlo throws Paravicini, Ferrara and Nikolic into the battle, and the Granata seem to cling to the strong individuality of their opponents. The first half ends with a score of 16-20.
Nikolic and Paravicini took the lead in the second quarter and it was a difficult start again. Alibegovic and Da Ross maintain the lead of the Friulian team, but in general it seems that the high quality of coach Vertimati’s sons is able to make the difference at this stage of the match. But two minutes before halftime, Nardo took a one-point lead after a great basket from Stewart, a sign of a more balanced game. We go into halftime at 30-34.
This time Apu Udine comes out of the locker room better. Delia follows the excellent Da Ros, Alibegovic and Nardo struggle in the middle of the quarter (-10). The Granata lights up in flashes with Smith and Iannuzzi, but they are unable to close the gap. Wet powder, especially from long distances, is one of the main problems early in the season for Toro. Small break Ferrara (4 points) proudly keeps a strong team in the match. The score was 51-58 at the end of the third quarter.
The last ten minutes of Hope open with Nardo with a knife between his teeth. The usual Ferrara, Stewart and Smith try to bite some bullets into Odin, who regularly extinguishes any concussions with grenades. Two successive bombs from Nardo with Paravicini and Stewart (and then, soon after, one from Maspero) kept the outcome uncertain until the end. With 1’21” left Stewart (basket and free throw) is closer to -6. Pala San Giuseppe is in a state of pandemonium and Parravicini is pulling the confidence basket out of the hat. -3 45 seconds from the end, the most exciting end of the race ever. Smith responds to Monaldi’s game-winning breakout, but misses the extra free throw. Paravicini makes his fifth foul and goes out. Da Ross hit one of the two free throws, and the grenade possession 8 seconds from the siren didn’t work. Ikanji finished the contest with a score of 79-84 in favor of Fertimati Premier League. Stewart is the top scorer on the day with 21 points, but his meager long range (7/24) may have a decisive weight in the final tally.
No points, but many good marks for coach Di Carlo in this difficult first test. Now a close double trip to Forli (8th October) and Trieste (11th October).
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