A week ago all hearts were stomping a bit harder as with 11 seconds remaining, the Dragons Rhondorf had the last possession and had their fate in their own hands and everybody knew in the always energetic Dragon Dome that Kameron Taylor would have the ball in his hands and try to create that special Michael Jordan moment in the clutch and do what he does best scoring something he proved at Seton Hill(NCAA) as well as make those deciding shots when it counted most against Edinboro and Gannon where he sealed the victories with buzzer beaters. It was no different against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors a week ago where he went one on one with British national player Jules Akodo and poured home a nasty in your face pull up jumper that saw nothing but net had the small gym in a frenzy that will be remembered for many years. Other than that amazing experience, the club has had not too many other big moments in the last two weeks. After starting the season with an impressive four game winning streak, the club suffered two brutal away losses in Elchlingen against the ScanPlus Basktes where they allowed an uncharachteristic 103 points and four days ago got crushed in Giessen 90-67. After finding their identity early on the defensive end averaging giving up only 65 points per contest, the club has totally lost their rhythm and averaged allowing 91 points per game. The club hasn´t been consistent on offense anymore and have gotten away from their solid team basketball and have lost some passion. The Dragons Rhondorf returned home to face number two team EN Baskets Schwelm and wanted to get another winning experience and fans witnessed the top guard duo of each team´s top scorers Kammeron Taylor and Chris Hortman duel for bragging rights for one night and after 40 minutes it was Taylor who won the points duel 37-22 and the game 95-72.The Dragons Rhondorf finally found back to their game that had left them and retrieved their passion that somewhere had been lost. After the contest a content Kameron Taylor was thrilled about his team finding back to the winning road. “We played good basketball for 35 minutes. We had been passive in the past, but tonight we had much energy and were always in attack mode. On defense key was making Chris Hortman take tough shots as well as their bigs”, stressed ex Seton Hill guard Kameron Taylor. The league´s other top point guard Chris Hortman had a solid game with 22 points, but was left a bit in the cold by his teammates as he didn´t get much support from them. “Rhondorf wanted the win more than we did. They did everything that a team is supposed to do when you want to win. They had a lot more trust in their main man Taylor and they did a good job finding the open man. We didn´t execute and couldn´t find the open man. On defense we weren´t able to keep our man in front and our help side wasn´t there either”, stressed EN Baskets Schwelm guard Chris Hortman.
Before the contest kicked off, there was an unusual occurrence in that there wasn´t a moment of silence for Matthias Grothe who had passed away four days earlier, but instead everyone clapped which was a different kind of gesture, but one that the German big man surely would have enjoyed and understood from above. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t get off the wrong side of the bed like in the last weeks, but were 100% there from the jump ball as they exploded off on a 9-2 lead leaving the second place team EN Baskets Schwelm a bit shocked. Rhondorf let their defense do the talking on the first play as Canadian Kevin Thomas swatted away a Chris Hortman drive layup which sparked their offense. Rhondorf didn´t waste any time and started firing away as top German point guard Viktor Frankl-Maus and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn forward Valentin Blass connected for three´s and Kameron Taylor escaped inside using his quickness getting a lay in and free throws. The first quarter would present itself as a time of runs as it didn´t take the EN Baskets Schwelm long to get in rhythm as they sped out on a 7-2 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 11-9. In the run, they stepped up their defense and got solid offensive production from ex Phoenix Hagen forward Thomas Reuter with free throws, a Hortman trey and Lithuanian Andrius Mikutis scored inside. Rhondorf didn´t let this sudden EN Baskets Schwelm offense jolt irritate them as they got instant offense from Taylor in the form of a three pointer and Thomas was all alone on the wing dropping a 20 footer for the 16-9 advantage. The EN Baskets Schwelm were threatening to get their first lead as Hortman and Jean Louis Marley scored, but the guests just couldn´t contain Taylor who snuck inside again for an easy layup and then nailed a jumper as the Dragons Rhondorf led 20-15 after 10 minutes. “We showed a high level of energy and intensity something that we hadn´t shown in Giessen. We went back to our roots and had our identity back again showing the way we had played in our first games”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 38% from the field and 27% from outside while the EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 33% from the field and 14% from outside. Rhondorf had the slim 12-10 rebound edge and three turnovers while the EN Baskets Schwelm had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf continued to play at a high intensity and really stepped up their defense closing down the paint area and totally irritating their bigs as they couldn´t buy a bucket while on offense everything was clicking as it was Taylor time. The Dragons Rhondorf cruised out on a fast 6-0 run to take the 26-15 lead. All 6 points were scored by the Latvian lion Ronalds Elksnis who finally broke out of his shell as he has been a kind of an enigma playing under his expectations. Elksnis scored a bucket inside, scored on the fast break and sunk free throws. The Dragons Rhondorf defense stifled the EN Baskets Schwelm first four possessions as they clogged the paint area not letting the opponents bigs into any good positions to score. The EN Baskets Schwelm did sneak in a few buckets in the paint as 34 year old German Sebastian Schroetter scored as did ex Giessen guard Matthias Perl who hit a nifty floater to cut the Rhondorf lead to 29-20. Then came the best play of the night as Frankl-Maus set up Kevin Thomas with an acrobatic over the head pass something a Rajon Rondo or Larry Bird used to do, but that is just what the German does and no surprise to Kameron Taylor. “That was a normal pass from him. He makes even more spectacular passes in practice. He is the best passer in the league”, stressed Kameron Taylor. Then came the Taylor show as he would lead his team on a 14-5 run scoring 12 unanswered points. He hit two trey´s, a step back, a lay in and free throws. The confidence of Taylor on this night continued to grow with every knew executed shot and he ran into the locker room at half time with a solid 22 points. Frankl-Maus closed out the second quarter with a beautiful three from the corner as the Dragons Rhondorf led 48-32. “Elksnis was a bit banged up in the last game, but tonight he came very hungry and had a lot of energy which showed in the stats. We did a good job containing their big men and focusing on Hortman and Reuter not letting them get hot”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 43% from the field and 33% from the three point line while the EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 39% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the solid 24-17 rebound edge and four turnovers while the EN Baskets Schwelm had eight turnovers.
In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf closed the door on the EN Baskets Schwelm deciding the game with ease as they led by as much as 29 points. It also didn´t help the EN Baskets come back cause that they gave up a 13-0 run from the get go trailing Rhondorf then 59-32. The first four minutes was the best defense of the evening for the Dragons Rhondorf as they stopped the first eight possessions of the guests forcing five turnovers and giving head coach Falk Moeller headaches on the sideline. The defense sparked their offense as they got four transition baskets including one in the first five seconds as their press allowed a Taylor steal and easy layup for the first points. Taylor would score two more times as well as Blass and Thomas who finished with a massive two handed dunk and trey. The EN Baskets Schwelm finally got on the board for the first time in the third quarter at the 5.50 mark as sharp shooter and ex John Brown(NAIA) player Andrius Mikutis nailed a trey to cut the Rhondorf lead to 61-35. After a Thomas lay in and Alexander Cuic dunk who has played in nine countries, Frankl-Maus connected on another three extending the Rhondorf lead to 66-37. The EN Baskets Schwelm closed out the third quarter on a positive note going on a 7-3 run to trail only 69-45 after 30 minutes. They added some aggressiveness on defense which got them some added stops while on offense got some needed production from Horton and Cuic who scored twice in the paint. “We kept the pressure on and never let down. We continued to play team basketball”, stressed Kameron Taylor. “We started off with two turnovers and just couldn´t execute and find the open man. Their energy was awesome and they sustained the level of play. Even though Taylor scored 37 points, they still played team basketball. He just happened to be there getting the ball. We didn´t share the ball and were stagnant”, added Chris Hortman. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 43% from the field and 32% from the parking lot while the EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 39% from the field and 24% from the parking lot. Rhondorf still had the comfortable 34-26 rebound edge and eight turnovers while the EN Baskets Schwelm had 18 turnovers.
The EN Baskets Schwelm finally got going in the fourth quarter pouring in 30 points, but they couldn´t go on a big run to cut back into the huge Dragons Rhondorf lead as they gave up 26 points themselves giving their worst defensive performance of the season as they were 29 points over their season average of allowed points. The EN Baskets Schwelm got off on the better start going on a quick 7-0 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 69-52. In the run it was the usual suspect Hortman hitting a step back jumper and Schroetter tip toed around Alexander Moeller for an easy layup and Marley showed his Ron Artest side scoring inside with authority. Then in the next eight possessions both teams combined for six trey´s as both teams were hitting at a high rate, but the EN Baskets couldn´t make any ground as ex Speyer forward Yannik Kneesch hit two three´s, Blass and Frankl-Maus one a piece and Hortman nailed two, but Rhondorf still led 83-60. Taylor continued to wreck havoc on the offensive end as he scored two more buckets extending the Rhondorf lead to 89-64 as he totaled 37 points which was his highest in Germany as a professional and he was done for the night. “I was told that my energy had been missed the last three games. I wanted to come out attacking more and playing with more passion. I want my presence to be there for 40 minutes, but that wasn´t the case in the last games. When I´m in attack mode then we are hard to beat”, warned Kameron Taylor. The EN Baskets did close out the game with a 8-3 run, but it didn´t matter as the Dragons Rhondorf had put the exclamation on the win a lot earlier. 18 year German Anton Geretzki nailed a trey for the last basket sending all Dragons fans into a happy mood for the rest of their Saturday night. “Even when they made a little run, we never let down and kept our compassion. We kept executing which helped us finish the game strong”, added Kameron Taylor. “They never let up. When we made a run, they snuffed it. I might have scored tonight, but they were tough shots while the other team was getting catch and shoot shots”, stressed Chris Hortman. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kameron Taylor with 37 points, six rebounds and six assists. Viktor Frankl_Maus produced 17 points and seven assists while Yannik Kneesch added 12 points. The EN Baskets Schwelm were led by Chris Hortman with 22 points while Sebastian Schroetter added 12 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 49% from the field and 42% from outside while the EN Baskets Schwelm shot 47% from the field and 32% from outside. Rhondorf won the rebound duel 41-28 and had only 14 turnovers while the EN Baskets Schwelm coughed up the ball 20 times.