Leiden overcame a seemingly insurmountable 16-point deficit with just 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining, securing a thrilling victory and their fifth Dutch championship title.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

The decisive Game 5 of the Dutch championship final series between Leiden and Donar Groningen will forever be etched in the annals of sports history.

In a turn of events that can only be described as miraculous, the game took an incredible twist with just 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining, and Donar holding a seemingly insurmountable 16-point lead (77-61).

Leiden started hitting every possible shot, including thress from the backboard. Their relentless efforts gradually chipped away at the deficit, reducing it to a mere 6 points (73-79) with just 1 minute and 4 seconds left on the clock. Adding to Donar's woes, they made several careless mistakes during this crucial stretch.

Another stroke of fortune favored Leiden as Donar struggled big-time at the free-throw line, missing six of their eight attempts in the final two minutes.

The last seconds of the game were as crazy as the whole comeback effort.

With a slender 2-point lead (81-79), Donar had a golden opportunity to extend their advantage, but their missed free throws left the door open for Leiden. Additionally, Donar received a pushing foul while fighting for the offensive rebound, gifting Leiden two free throws to tie the game at 81.

Yet, amidst the mounting pressure, Leiden could only convert one shot from the charity stripe, bringing the score to 80-81. In a last-ditch effort, Donar inbounded the ball on their own end, but in a moment of chaos, they quickly lost possession with a mere 3.7 seconds remaining.

The first game-winning attempt by Leiden was blocked, but they grabbed the offensive board, and, with 0.3 seconds left on the clock, Thomas Rutherford attempted a circus shot that drew a foul. Displaying nerves of steel, Rutherford calmly sank both free throws, defying the odds and making the impossible possible. With that, Leiden secured their fifth Dutch championship in history, sending fans in a frenzy.

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