On the brink of glory

UPDATE April 29th: The team won! AND decided to accept promotion to 1st division.

In 2013 CBS women’s basketball started in division four, the lowest league in Denmark. Just three years later they have already secured promotion to division one, the second highest league and are on the brink of claiming the title of division two East champions. Last Wednesday 20 April they took another step towards glory with a win over Jonstrup in the first game of the finals. Victory in game two, next Wednesday 27 April will secure the championship.

That first season back in 2013 was a tough one, but in 2015/2016 the team caught fire, finishing in the top three of division four and gaining promotion to division two. Since then they have powered on, losing just one game in the regular season to qualify for the division two east playoffs.

Head coach Latif Mohidin says, “The goal for the season was to make sure everyone was on the same page, and to build a common identity. It has been an ongoing process, but I think we by the end of the season we have managed to do that.”

CBS booked their place in the semi finals and faced University Student Gymnastic Association (USG). A team they had beaten in a tough affair in the playoffs, one in which they lost Pauline Schulz, one of their strongest players to a season ending injury.

Game one was as tight as expected, but CBS were right in it until the third quarter when centre Kristina Popovic sustained an injury and was forced to leave the court. The girls battled on but lost by 12 points. They were going to have to do it the hard way; win game two and take the semis to a third and decisive game.

CBS had a rough start to game two, going down by 10 points. They gradually pulled level, and went on to win by 10 points thanks to some strong finishing from Cecille Glob Klussmann and Kristina Popovic in the closing minutes. So it was all down to game three, which turned out to be the tightest of all.

The teams were neck and neck and at the end of regular time the score line stood at 50 points to 50. Extra time beckoned. USG had the quicker start, scoring four unanswered points before Suzanne Rochette stepped up to score two successive three pointers.

Derya Gocken chipped in with a jumpshot and a free throw to push CBS over the line on a score line of 59 to 55. They had reached the finals with a gutsy team effort, overcoming injuries, missing players and tense close games. The final whistle was greeted with a mix of relief and sheer joy that they had made it.

Assistant coach Stig Christensen says the semis showed, “We have a strong core of players with a good balance of team spirit and individual skill. All our players have stepped up and taken responsibility when called upon.”

This experience stood to the girls when they took on Jonstrup on their home court in Ballerup in game one of the finals. CBS kept their sharp shooters to just 45 points and this combination of aggressive defense and impressive inside play from Elina Kiukas and Sofia Björklöv saw them run out winners by 11 points.

They now need to win just one more game. So come down to the CBS home court Skolen på Nyelandsvej next Wednesday 27 April and cheer on the girls as they try to make history for CBS Sport. To check out the highlights of the team’s road to the finals check out player/videographer Forrest Fang’s youtube channel and sign up to attend the game’s facebook event here.