Telekom Baskets Bonn wins the 2023 Basketball Champions League

2023-05-14T22:02:41+00:00 2023-05-14T23:35:39+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

14/May/23 22:02
bonn champions BCL

Tuomas Iisalo’s team makes history in Malaga by becoming the first-ever German side to win the Basketball Champions League

By Cesare Milanti /

MALAGA, Spain – Following an 11-1 record between the Regular Season and the Round of 16, and the win in the best-of-three Quarter-Finals series against SIG Strasbourg, Telekom Baskets Bonn put the icing on the cake of its 2023 Basketball Champions League, winning the trophy on the club’s first appearance in the competition by beating Hapoel Jerusalem 77-70 on a full arena in Malaga, despite the fact that the hosts played – and lost – in the 3rd place game.

With an outstanding performance, TJ Shorts scored 14 of his final 29 points (10/17 from the field) in the first half, putting Telekom Baskets Bonn ahead from the beginning. Following this game, the 2023 Basketball Champions League MVP, who headlined the All-BCL First Team, became the second player, after Kevin Punter in 2019, to have scored 20+ points in both the semi-final and the final during a single BCL Final Four and of course got also the Final Four MVP award.

According to Stats Perform, this was TJ Shorts II’s 10th game with 20+ points in the BCL this season, the most ever by any player in a single league campaign. Both Sebastian Herrera, who has now made a three-pointer in each of his last seven BCL games, his longest sequence in the competition, and Javontae Hawkins gave a significant contribution on the offensive end for the first-ever German team to win the Basketball Champions League. They combined for 24 points.

On the losing side, Levi Randolph was the main offensive option for Aleksandar Dzikic’s team, dropping 27 to close its 2023 Basketball Champions League campaign. The 2022 BCL top scorer became only the 4th player to score 20+ points in a BCL final following TJ Shorts tonight, Kevin Punter’s 26 in 2019, and Chima Moneke’s 24 in 2022, but the first one aged 30+ years old. Now, he’s also the first player to have made 10 or more free throws (11) in a BCL final.

He was followed by Zach Hankins, who celebrated being named into the All-BCL First Team with 6 offensive rebounds, the most ever by any player in a BCL final. The American center ended the game by being close to a double-double of 7 points and 10 rebounds. Mareks Mejeris added 12 points and 6 boards.

A hard fought game with Bonn always in the lead

With a total of 21 points being scored in the first quarter (14-7), it became the lowest-scoring quarter ever in a BCL final. After the first ten minutes, Telekom Baskets Bonn kept rolling, reaching a comfortable 15-point lead with 6:19 left in the second quarter.

The Israeli team managed to cut the deficit to nine points with Tuomas Iisalo’s team going to halftime still in control, up 37-28.

The second half started in a completely different way, as the red-and-black Israeli side produced a 9-2 run to get back on track. A three by Mareks Mejeris with 03:23 left in the third quarter, then, gave even more confidence to Hapoel Jerusalem, trailing by only one point; Sebastian Herrera answered down seconds later, putting his team again up by six points.

The third period ended with Hapoel Jerusalem trailing only by two points(57-55)  following a wide-open three by Khadeen Carrington with 00:33 seconds left. Tuomas Iisalo’s Bonn took control of the encounter once again in the last quarter, going up 66-58 with 5:27 minutes to play. From then on, the German team never slowed down anymore, making the golden celebration start on the court of the Martin Carpena in Malaga.

PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League