By Cesare Milanti / firstname.lastname@example.org
BRESCIA, Italy – Things could have been worse for Luca Banchi, who continues to add good memories to his surreal September. After ending in 5th place at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the head coach won his first trophy on Virtus Bologna’s bench, beating Brescia 97-60 for the 2023 Italian Supercup.
Both Tornike Shengelia and Isaia Cordinier were X-Factors for Luca Banchi’s team to capture the third consecutive Supercoppa Italiana for the black-and-white team. The Georgian power forward had his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds, as Brescia players tried to contain him by committing 7 fouls; the French player, instead, added 17 crucial points for his side. Jordan Mickey, who played the 5, provided 15 for Virtus Bologna.
“I wanted to say thank you to who preceded me, Sergio Scariolo. This is a group of players who have the ability to compete at the highest level. I wanted to just give the impulse and not slow them down. I’m a little bit of a non-paying spectator”, Luca Banchi said in the post-game press conference.
Mi sento in dover di ringraziare chi mi ha preceduto, Sergio Scariolo. Io ho cercato semplicemente di non frenare questo flusso ed impulso. Sono un po’ spettatore non pagante
Trying to follow on his dominant performance against Bertram Yachts Derthona Tortona, Amedeo Della Valle was still Brescia’s highest-scorer with 12 points despite shooting 1/4 from two. The newest center Miro Bilan tried to be impactful on the glass with 14 points and 6 rebounds but had a nightmare evening at the charity stripe, where he shot 4/11 on free throws.
Following his good performance in the semifinal against Olimpia Milano, Isaia Cordinier started the game hot with seven straight points, including one dunk off the baseline. Luca Banchi’s team went up 14-1 after 3:22 minutes, imposing his rhythm straight from the beginning. Miro Bilan tried to reduce the gap in the low post, but Virtus Bologna resisted to close the opening quarter up 27-10.
The hosts began the second quarter way better game-wise on offense, creating several open shots. However, they kept on struggling to convert them, failing to reduce the gap: with 7:07 minutes until halftime, Alessandro Magro was forced to call timeout as Virtus Bologna was leading by 19 points (34-15). Amedeo Della Valle interrupted Brescia’s three-point fasting at 3:40, while Semaj Christon completed a 5-0 run later on to reduce Bologna’s lead to eight points (40-32). Ultimately, at halftime, Virtus was up 48-35.
As already proven in yesterday’s semifinal against Ettore Messina’s team, Tornike Shengelia has been living an amazing start to the 2023-24 season, and he demonstrated it by giving Virtus Bologna the right boost in the third quarter, causing problems to Brescia’s defense. The former Brescia player Awudu Abass put his team up by 30 points, while Alessandro Pajola followed by extending the lead to 76-43 at the end of the third quarter, which finished on a 28-8 run.
In the last quarter, Luca Banchi gave more minutes to his second unit, but things didn’t really change much. At the end of the day, Brescia couldn’t have any chance with poor percentages both from two (16/35, 46.0%) and from beyond the arc (5/23, 22.0%) against such a physical opponent like Virtus Bologna, which dominated rebounding-wise as well, capturing 22 boards more than their opponents.
PHOTO CREDIT: Virtus Segafredo Bologna