BeBasket: basketball news in France and Europe: La Rochelle back in Pro B after 26 years: "Completely irrational"

BeBasket: basketball news in France and Europe: La Rochelle back in Pro B after 26 years: “Completely irrational”

In the country of the oval, the basketball section of the Stade Rochelais scored an unexpected try to find the festivities of the National Basketball League. How beautiful history is for the people of Rochelle : administratively demoted to NM4 (6th division) in March 1996, long considered the Poulidor of the N2 with countless defeats in the finals in the early 2000s, here they are again in Pro B. Twenty-six years later. The year of the 90 years of the club, historically known as “ Rupella “. “ It’s completely irrational and humanly incredible »smiles Gaëtan Clerc, who offered a second title to La Rochelle after the European rugby title a few weeks ago. The effect of the merger with the Stade Rochelais rugby players in 2017-2018 and the arrival of Aymeric Jeanneau as GM in July 2020 have something to do with it.

Crying, sweating, we gave it our all »

It is a just reward for this group of players who are out of the ordinary. We wanted to write a page in the history of this club and we end in apotheosis “, greets François Sence, coach of La Rochelle since 2020 and who will cross the road of yellow and black with Denain, next season. This collective strength, this “unexplained and explainable” ability to sublimate in the second half of the season allowed La Rochelle to do the unthinkable and finish with 14 straight wins at home. “ Crying, sweating, we gave it our all », embellishes Franck Seguela, called to stop the 5×5 to become a professional in 3×3. “ It’s not a title like Laëtitia (Guapo, his titled partner with Bourges in LFB) but it’s the most beautiful adventure of NM1. »

All actors, all sweaty. Arnauld, Antoine, Gaëtan, Franck and his gang… A dozen friends living on the La Rochelle parquet floor. They wore them like rarely from the stands : Cyril, Isaac, Bernard, Violaine and these 2 000 people. Named after a former player who died in an accident in the 1960s, the Gaston-Neveur room was the lung of the yellow and black people, used to shouting loudly on Champions Cup evenings in Marcel-Deflandre. “ The hall is packed with every game while it was half full at the start of the season “, slips the Vendéen Antoine Dudit, who was able to share this climb with his childhood idol, Aymeric Jeanneau. “ It was just crazy, you have to make the most of it because it’s an incredible moment in a career.

” It gives me shivers “

Captain Arnauld Thinon, scrum-half way, turned into a room heater. With each of his long-distance bombs, the La Rochelle supporters rose up as one man and waved the flags in the club’s colors in all directions. There was also this moment, when the small cauldron of Charente-Maritime – transformed into a giant sauna after the meeting – spontaneously chanted : “ Rochelais, come on, come on. It was at the very start of the 4th quarter and the match was already over (64-46, 31′).

Hero of this crazy evening (for a long time at 5/5 behind the arc, before finishing at 6/9 for 22 points and 24 of evaluation), Arnauld Thinon, the emblem of the PB 86, tells : “ It gives me chills (he has goosebumps). I may have been possessed but I still missed a few. We said to ourselves that there was no choice that we had to concentrate on our 40 minutes and not come back on Sunday. There is a step between wanting and doing it, but I liked the Stade Rochelais project so much. “Before confirming that his 17th professional season that he will start in Pro B with La Rochelle will be his last. And there, again, the captain will be true to his reputation : “ I will give everything to the team to maintain itself. »

Tears and closed faces in Mulhouse

Quickly in the lead on the scoreboard, the Rochelais had a lead of up to twelve points (29-17, 13′) before Mulhouse came back at full speed (29-23, 15′). A small spark, a timid flame… There was nothing else as the Rochelais were overexcited, almost unplayable. The proteges of the Lauriane Dolt – Terrick Nerome pair, stamped SIG Strasbourg, could do nothing (defeat 81-65). Regrets, there will surely be some on the first leg lost in Alsace (78-82) but not during the 2nd round. “ I knew the step was really high to win but I really wanted to snatch a 3rd round to reward the guys of this season “Explains Lauriane Dolt, while Mulhouse played his 53rd match of the season, Coupe de France included. We lack a bit of everything and the address. When you start the match by missing good shooting situations, it’s immediately more complicated. The slightest mistake, we pay cash. »

Tears, closed faces : a feeling naturally at the antipodes of the scenes of jubilation in La Rochelle. The final buzzer had barely sounded when a handful of La Rochelle supporters had already invaded the field. And this despite the instructions given by the announcer. But we will easily forgive them as sport, and in particular basketball, is a vector of strong emotions. Good as well as less good. All gathered in the center of the field, players and fans intertwined, multiplied the selfies and continued the party until the end of the night…

In La Rochelle,

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