Our predecessors are before us: we talked to our junior champions, Nóra Halmos and Judit Izsák – ELTE BEAC Kosárlabda

Our predecessors are before us: we talked to our junior champions, Nóra Halmos and Judit Izsák

Last time, it was in 2000-2001 when a team with the name of BEAC could celebrate a junior championship title.  Back then, the junior championship was supplied by top teams and they played junior games before or after the adult games.  BEAC had more players who played double games carrying the adult as well as the junior team on their shoulder.  We had coffee and talked about the past with our two junior champions, Nóra Halmos and Judit Izsák.

They are both connected not only to BEAC but to Csata as well as they are both pupils of Kriszta Tursicsné Iván so they know the BEAC gym on Bogdánfy Street and the Csata school gym by heart.  They got to BEAC from Fradi in the summer of 2000 – let’s add real fast that it was not entirely their own doing.   The closure of the basketball department of Fradi was a complete shock to them.  ‘We started pre-season with the adult team, this would have been our first NB1 season.  We had a morning practice, I came home, as my mom waited for me to tell her how it was.  I just looked at her with big eyes and told her it was no big deal, I was just at practice.  She did not understand as even the TV announced by this time that basketballer ceased to exist at Fradi.  Everyone started calling, they told us to go in next day to get our things’ – Nóri recalls the summer of 2000.  How they got to BEAC then, they cannot recall exactly but they agree that it was somehow obvious that they will continue to play here.  It was maybe not immediately obvious then that Nóri would be the starting point guard right away at the age of 18 in her very first NB1 season and that Juci would be a solid team member as well.  They were mainly practicing for the junior season and perhaps for few minutes in the adult league.

But the BEAC then is much like the BEAC now.  Young Hungarian players gave the base of the team with a few seasoned players.  The young momentum carried them forward – following the season then they made it to the top league they almost made it to the final eight.  In the last game for the final 8, they won the junior game but lost the adult game by a few points.  They had many nice wins and they immediately think about the game against BSE in Major where they won by 10 points on the birthday of coach Péter Tapodi.  They had a nice celebration followed by a full page article next day in Nemzeti Sport.

As they say, the season was a turning point for them and BEAC became a true love of theirs.  The young team was a real unit, they could really fight for each other, for every ball, for every winning chance.  In the meantime, they studied, not only on court but in school as well, as they both finished high school that year.  ‘In my prom, I missed the ribbon ceremony but I made it to the class dance.  I remember we played against Diósgyőr and we lost by three points at home’ – says Juci.  According to our daily routine, we went to school in the morning, to practice in the evening and if we had a chance, to individual practice in the morning.  During the weekend, we played two games with a few hours of difference in between.  They both say that this was not strange to them, this is the rhythm their lives followed.  Previously, during the junior years, they often had practice at 7 in the morning then 4 games during the weekends but this seemed natural to them as well.

Basically, neither of them set out to be basketball players.  They say, they never admitted that they wanted to be professional players (Juci thinks she is still not a professional players after playing 9 seasons in the top league), they simply loved what they did.  Nóri had her father talk to her a lot about basketball and she started to play at the age of 7.  After Fradi, she played 3 years in BEAC, then she played in Sopron, at Foton Sopron, which came after Postás.  When tteh team folded, she went to Diósgyőr.  ‘This is the place where I first felt that this was about the money.  Never before this.  BEAC and then Sopron had a really good atmosphere; we got together off the court spending a lot of time together’.  Her career ended in 2006 after a serious illness.  It was caught in time due to sports that something serious was going on.  She healed but she could no longer play – to this day she still misses the bounce of the ball.

Juci played five years for the black and whites and in her last season she worked with our current head coach Judit Balogh.  ‘I learned a lot from her especially in individual practices.  I knew that there were one step and crossover step – well, she showed me twenty others’ – she recalls the work together.  After two seasons in Szeged and one at Vasas, she played in Győr working with Péter Tapodi again.  As well as work went on in BEAC, something was missing in Győr.  ‘We sat down once to talk about this.  He said: Jucika this is the professional world now.  BEAC was different, that was love’.  They agreed and this was Juci’s last season in the top league.  She did not stop playing basketball altogether as she is playing regularly in the Budapest city championship.

Back in that particular junior season 16 years ago, they did not have a top eight final round but they had two games with each team and the best made it to the final four.  In the final four round, one of the opponents was BSE where both sides had one big talent: for the red and white team, it was Anna Vajda and for us, it was Réka Cserny.  The whole adult team was sitting in the bleachers at Major loudly cheering for the team as Péter Tapodi’s occasionally moaning at the ref.  BEAC won both games so the final game came against Simi-GYSEV led by László Sterbenz.  ‘I went to the MTK-BEAC game at Major not too long ago and it was weird to think that there were players there whom we played against at that junior game already’ – said Juci.  And yes, in 2001 in that second game that was won in Sopron at Vasvilla, Sopron already had Zsuzsanna Horváth, Orsolya Zsovár as well as Eszter Csontos, who no longer plays, but who was a promising forward player selected as the youth player of the year in the year before that.  We were not the favorite ones to win but both games were flaming fights – with BEAC wins.  ‘Little momentum is left from the finals.  But what is absolute is that Szőke (Kati Windisch) made a half court triple at the end’ – they both recall.  They have small fragments of memory come up still, for example, that their cheer on the court was always ‘Sanyi’ in honor of Sándor Szarka.

Even though basketball is not the central point in their lives now, they have plenty to talk about even after an hour and a half that can be recalled from the past 16 years.  Many successful and happy moments that followed both of their careers – including the vivid moments of the 2000-2001 junior championship title.

We will honor the members of the BEAC 2000-2001 junior national championship team at the halftime of the last game of the National Girls Junior Championship Finals.  Team members: Dorottya Bartucz, Réka Cserny, Nóra Halmos, Viktória Hetényi, Zsófia Horváth, Judit Izsák, Mónika Németh, Nikolett Somogyi, Beáta Szabó, Judit Veres, Katalin Windisch, coach: Sándor Szarka.

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