46 years ago, baseball history wrote the impossible dream of the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series, the birth of Dirty Harry aka Clint Eastwood as a police officer taking justice into his own hands was only three years away, the rock group Beatles were in their prime releasing hit record after hit record, Bobby Orr was just starting to becoming the best ice hockey player on the planet and the now LTi Giessen 46ers then known as MTV Giessen started their life in the Beko BBL. Three Beko BBL titles and years and years of top basketball in the Ost halle finally came to an end on April 23rd, 2013 as the club played their last game in the top German basketball ending the season in 18th place and moving down to the second division. In their last home game in the always boisterous Osthalle, the troops of Mathias Fischer met 2009 Beko BBL champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg that had two ex Giessen players on their roister with American Adam Chubb who played in the Hessen city in the 2005-2006 season and German Jannik Freese who played there from 2008-2011. The fans saw two completely different halves as both teams were eye to eye in the first half, but as so often has been the case in the last months, the LTi Giessen 46ers fell apart in the second half as Oldenburg easily won their last game of the season 90-59 and now can travel with self confidence to Turkey for the 2013 Eurochallenge Final 4 this weekend. For Giessen, it was a sad farwell from the Beko BBL, but they had little firepower in the second half. “We played like always. We were very strong in the first half, but lost energy in the second half. At times we were playing with four young German youth players. We let up in the second half”, stressed LTi Giessen 46er Andreas Buchert. For Oldenburg, it was more a practice game as head coach Sebastian Machowski was able to experiment much and gave Germans Jannik Freese and Kevin Smit extended minutes. “We knew coming in that they would fight. WE took them a little lightly in the first half, but we put more defensive pressure on them, brought the ball more to the basket and capitalized on their mistakes”, stressed 2004 NBA draft pick Ricey Paulding.
For the last home game of the season and last game in the Beko BBL, the Osthalle was surprisingly not filled. Konrad Wysocki and Julius Jenkins didn´t play and might have been rested for the Eurochallenge game and as usual the dad of Wysocki was taking in the game. Little point guard Achmadscah Zazai didn´t play for Giessen as he was injured might have found a new job for after his playing days as he gave a very spirited performance as arena announcer introducing the Giessen players. The first quarter was very tight as no teams could break away. Oldenburg got on the board quick as after four seconds Paulding found Kramer for an ally-op lay in. Ex Winthrop forward Andreas Buchert got started fast hitting his first two shots for Giessen while Oldenburg spread the offensive around as Chris Kramer, Dru Joyce, Adam Chubb and Rickey Paulding scored the first four Oldenburg buckets. Oldenburg tried to break way leading 14-8, but Giessen remained potent cutting the Oldenburg lead to 15-13 as Buchert scored inside and Dominik Spohr nailed a three pointer. Chubb then scored on a hook shot and dunk extending the Oldenburg lead to 19-13, but Giessen stormed right back going on their second 5-0 run as Oskar Fassler scored inside and 1996 NCAA finalist Elvir Ovcina connected form the parking lot as Oldenburg led 19-18. Ex MBC guard Sharaud Curry scored twice in the last minute as Giessen escaped the first quarter with the slight 23-22 advantage. “It was our last game and it was obvious that we would be motivated. We shot very well in the first quarter, while Oldenburg didn´t shoot as well”, expressed Achmadschah Zazai.
In the second quarter, the LTi Giessen 46ers switched their defense to zone which limited the Oldenburg shooting accuracy. Giessen kept the lead as Randall Hanke got to the free throw line twice. Kramer cracked the Giessen zone with a high rainbow knotting the game at 27-27. Giessen now took the lead twice, but Oldenburg always answered with buckets. Young German Robin Amaize made a pretty spin move and seemed like he was walking on air as he made a nifty lay up, only to be answered with a Ronny Burrell put back. Ovcina and Kramer then traded baskets as the agme remained dead locked at 31-31. Kramer then hit free throws while Buchert made a nice left handed hook shot as the game was tied 33-33. Spohr then nailed a three pointer for the 36-35 lead, but Oldenburg closed out the second quarter catching Giessen napping as Freese made a hook shot and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid made a steal and went coast to coast as Giessen trailed 39-36. “I think that our zone confused Oldenburg and led to the lower scoring in the second quarter”, added Achmadschah Zazai.The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 47% from the field and 33% from the three point line while the LTi Giessen 46ers were shooting 41% from the field and 29% from the three point line. The rebound were even at 18 and Giessen had seven turnovers and Oldenburg only six.
In the third quarter as has been so frequent in the last months, the LTi Giessen 46ers kept playing like boys while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg started playing like men. Without much hesitation, Oldenburg hurried off to a furious 18-2 run to lead 57-38 and decide the game early as they would never look back again. Chubb started the attack with a hook shot, Paulding finally found space to get to the bucket for quick two points, then hit free throws and Burrell flew to the hoop with diminutive Curry getting out of the way as the American thrusted home a dunk. Oldenburg led 46-36 and Giessen then got on the board with a Curry lay in. The Giessen offense then stalled as the Oldenburg offense continued rapid fire as Paulding dropped a three pointer in best Jimmy MCkinney manner, Chubb hit free throws as did Paulding and Robin Smuelders and Abul-Hamid scored inside. The Giessen defense started to sputter loosing that aggressiveness while Oldenburg just executed the way FC Bayern Munich did with splendor against FC Barcelona in the Championsleague 4-0 win. Oldenburg also got out on the fast break more getting easy buckets as DE Mello and Smeulders got dunks as Giessen trailed 62-42. Machowski didn´t shy to sue his bench as little used German point guard Kevin Smit showing his shooting talent nailing a three pointer. De Mello ended the third quarter with a lay in as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg led 69-49. Some of the hard core Giessen fans had seen enough and left while others were had reality slowly breaking through as only 10 Beko BBL minutes remained.
The fourth quarter remained unspectacular as Oldenburg won the quarter 21-10 as the Giessen 46er fans were witnessing the last Beko BBL quarter for them. Curry and De Mello traded three pointers as Oldenburg led 74-54. The four quarter saw some spectacular plays as it was obvious that the LTi Giessen 46ers weren´t going to get back into the game. Giessen head coach at times had four German youth players on the court. Ex Alba Berlin German Oskar Fasslerexcited the home crowd with a dunk, while ex Skyliner De Mello got out on the fast break and would have had a spot on the top 10 plays of the week, but missed a thunderous dunk to the dismay of Machowski on the bench who knew he should of made that dunk. The last Giessen 46er bucket was form young German Jonas Weiser who snuck into the lane and scored. Weiser finished with eight points in 20 minutes and really was noticed with his good ball handling, penetrating and finding the open man in traffic. The last Giessen shot was an airball from Dominik Spohr and then the siren sounded ending 46 years of Beko BBL basketball. The Giessen players walked around the court shaking hands with the players and there were quite a few Giessen fans teary eye. “This was a tough last game to see. I was happy that we could present the fans with a good last effort. We have 5-6 players with experience and the rest have none and aren´t used to playing at a high level. We broke apart in the second half, but we gave it all we had. I saw the season as positive that we really tried everything that we could despite our situation”, stressed Oskar Fassler.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg had seven players in double figures led by Mustafa Abdul-Hamid that had 15 points. Ronny Burrell chipped in with 13 points. Rickey Paulding produced 12 points. Chris Kramer and Dominik Bahiense DE Mello contributed 11 points a piece while Adam Chubb and Robin Smuelders delivered 10 points a piece. The LTi Giessen 46ers were led by Shauraud Curry with 13 points. It was a long season for the LTi Giessen 46ers and they surely will be back in the Beko BBL one day and until that happens one can just recapture the positive memories of this season and the past and never forget that Giessen will always be a basketball tradition no matter what. “The nicest memory I had was our win at home against ratiopharm Ulm, but it also was the worst memory as we found out we were bankrupt. I was only here one season, but when I think about Giessen, I think about tradition. I think the fans we have are the most emotional in the league. I saw so many crying after the game. Giessen have the ultimate basketball tradition”, commented Andreas Buchert.