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Of Jamil Warney, by Jamil Warney, for Jamil Warney

Jamil Warney (199 cm, C) scored the game-winner.

Seoul SK defeated Busan KCC 77-74 on Wednesday in the regular season finale of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball Association at Sajik Indoor Stadium in Busan. It was the first nine-game winning streak for any club in the 2023-2024 season. It solidified second place with a 19-8 record. One game behind third-place Suwon KT (18-9).

SK’s 2022-2023 season was a rough one. First, unlike the 2021-2022 season, the team didn’t utilize as many players. The absence of key forwards like Ahn Young-joon (195 cm, F) and Choi Jun-yong (200 cm, F) was a major setback for SK.

Nevertheless, SK showed signs of being a force to be reckoned with from the sixth round of the regular season. They won all nine games of the sixth round, three games of the best-of-six playoffs, and three games of the best-of-four playoffs. They were 3-2 going into Game 5 of the championship. Just one step away from the title.

We fought well in Game 6 of the Championship, especially in the third quarter. The 3-2 zone defense that SK started using in the championship game worked, and SK led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. It looked like a championship celebration.

But SK faltered in the fourth quarter. They couldn’t stop Darryl Monroe’s (196 cm, F) second-chance points and Byun Joon-hyung (185 cm, G) and Oh Se-geun (199 cm, C) three-pointers. They were outscored 4-22 in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, making Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation (now Anyang Jeong Kwan-jang) the protagonists of the upset drama.

However, in the seventh game of the championship match, it was a thriller. He took the game to overtime. Even though he lost, he deserved the fans’ applause. Why it was all possible. Because Warney was there.

Warney has continued his dominance in the 2023-2024 season. Thanks to him, SK was able to go on an eight-game winning streak. The eight-game winning streak propelled them to second place. Warney then faced a rising Lagunia (199 cm, C).

Warney exuded confidence in front of Lagana. She hit long spin moves and floaters, as well as a three-pointer. Lagana, of course, wreaked havoc on the KCC defense.

However, Warne was not able to stop Lagana easily. In particular, they couldn’t easily handle Lagana’s 2-on-2s. He went outside the 3-point line to defend the 2-on-2, but couldn’t get back into the paint easily. This was a crucial factor that led to points for LaGuardia.

However, Warney’s offensive impact outweighed his defensive weaknesses. In addition to her own scoring, Warney also utilized her teammates, most notably her frontcourt partner Choi Bukyeong (200 cm, F). She had a synergistic relationship with Choi. Seven points, two rebounds, and one assist in the first quarter. Helped SK take a seven-point lead (21-14).

Warney faced the defense of Lee Seung-hyun (197 cm, F) in the second quarter. A matchup with a Korean player. Warney’s confidence grew. He scored points not only from back downs, but also from bursts of speed. 10 points and 2 assists in the second quarter alone. The gap between SK and KCC was bigger. The score was 47-35.

However, SK fell back to 49-51 just 4 minutes and 42 seconds into the third quarter. They lost too quickly. They needed a change of pace, and that’s where Warney came in. He grabbed an offensive rebound, followed by a tip-in and foul free throw. He converted the three-point play. Thanks to him, SK took the lead back at 52-51.

Also, when SK was missing free throws, Warney stepped in. A breakaway floater and a cut-in after a fast break. Warney’s back-to-back baskets revitalized SK’s momentum, and with the momentum in their favor, SK ended the third quarter with a 62-57 lead.

However, SK couldn’t keep up with KCC’s momentum. At one point in the fourth quarter, they were down 66-71. However, Warney scored the game-winning basket, and with 16.5 seconds left in the game, he scored a second chance point off an offensive rebound. Not resting for a second, it paid off. Warney’s numbers against KCC were equally impressive. She finished with 36 points, nine rebounds (four offensive), three assists and two blocked shots.

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