Kim Sang-sik smiles after escaping a seven-game losing streak
“We were able to win because we didn’t give up until the end”
“We were able to win because we didn’t give up until the end.”
The Anyang Jeonggwanjang Red Boosters pulled off a thrilling 84-80 upset win against the Changwon LG Sakers in the fourth round of the 2023-2024 Jeonggwanjang Professional Basketball League at Anyang Indoor Gymnasium on February 2.
Prior to this game, the team had lost seven straight games. A loss to LG would have tied the franchise record for the longest losing streak. However, with a win in the first game of the 2024 New Year, they managed to turn the tide and end the losing streak.
Jung Kwan-jang played a difficult game, losing to LG in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter, the score was 10 points. However, the perimeter shooting started to explode. Lee Jong-hyun and Choi Sung-won hit three-pointers off passes from Park Ji-hoon, and Park Ji-hoon also hit a three-pointer to tie the game, but LG came back with points from Lee Jae-do, Lee Kwan-hee, and Justin Gutang.
With 4:33 left to play, Chung was down 77-70. However, they didn’t give up. Choi Sung-won hit a two-pointer and a three-pointer. Park Ji-hoon’s free throws closed the gap to three points. Park completed an end-one play to tie the game, and his aggressive rim-attack helped them take the lead. Robert Carter’s two free throws with three seconds left in the game sealed the deal.
“I was worried that (the players) would give up when the score was in double digits, but I don’t think they gave up until the end,” said coach Kim Sang-sik after the game. “In fact, Jung Hyo-geun had a cramp in his leg and it was difficult for him to play in the last minute, but he said he would play, so he went in and I think the atmosphere changed.”
On the day, Lee Jong-hyun played 28 minutes and 26 seconds, recording a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Coach Kim Sang-sik said, “(Jong-hyun) grabbed a lot of rebounds. He had a bad heel and had to be replaced, but he said he wanted to play. I think this atmosphere of players trying to play to the end was the driving force behind the upset victory.”
After the thrilling upset victory, Jeonggwanjang home fans chanted the name of head coach Kim Sang-sik, who said he was sorry for the long losing streak. He said, “I felt very sorry for the fans. We need to do better in the future. You always support me so passionately. It gives me strength.”
He continued, “There are many fans who come to cheer us on even during a losing streak. I think they’ve been cheering for me since I won last year.” “They encourage me a lot even when I’m losing, so I always feel more sorry when I lose. Today, we won, and I hope it can be a little bit of consolation.”