Hanam City Hall holds off a late charge from Commerce Phoenix to earn a one-point victory.
Hanam City Hall defeated Commerce Phoenix 26-25 in the second game of the second round of the Shinhan SOL Pay 23-24 Handball H League Men’s Division at SK Hawks Arena in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, on Wednesday.
Hanam City Hall remained in fourth place with two wins, two draws, three losses and six points, while Commerce Phoenix fell to second place with two wins, five losses and four points.
In the first half, the scoring exploded for Hanam City Hall. In their 30-23 win over Commerce Phoenix in the first round, they scored 17 points in the first half alone.
The first half was a perfect flow for Hanam City Hall. Their strong defense kept the Phoenix offense at bay, allowing them to score easily on fast breaks and jump out to a 10-3 lead.
The Commerce Phoenix offense struggled as they couldn’t easily break through the Hanam City Hall defense. This, coupled with mistakes, prevented them from capitalizing on scoring opportunities.
The gap widened to 10 points at 16-6 as Hanam City Hall scored through various attacks. The first half ended with Hanam City Hall leading 17-10 as Commerce Phoenix caught up.
The second half belonged to Commerce Phoenix. As Commerce Phoenix raised its defense, Hanam City Hall’s mistakes led to one or two points.
The score narrowed to 24-20 after two consecutive two-minute ejections by Hanam City Hall. Lee Dong-myung made a save to make it 26-20, and that’s when the scary chase began.
With time running out, Commerce Phoenix scored five straight goals to pull within 26-25. However, as the final whistle blew, Hanam City Hall secured a one-point victory.
Hanam City Hall was led on offense by Kim Ji-hoon and Shin Jae-seop with seven goals apiece, while goalkeeper Lee Dong-myung made 11 super saves to shut down the opposition at key moments.
Commerce Phoenix was led on offense by Kim Rak-chan with nine goals and Lee Yo-sep with five goals and nine assists.
Hanam City Hall’s Kim Ji-hoon, who was named MVP after scoring seven goals, said, “Commerce Phoenix had a soldierly spirit and caught up in the second half, but we played too well in the first half and made it easy for ourselves, so we played a difficult game in the second half. Personally, I haven’t shown a good performance so far, but today I felt good and excited, so I got greedy, and it worked out, so I think I became MVP. I will try to show such a good performance next time.”