Last weekend the Dragons Rhondorf were on the verge through two quarters of possibly setting a new trend in basketball by arriving fashionably late to the gym on a road trip that was hampered by snow and traffic as instead of finding no rhythm in the game after having only a few minutes to put up some shots before the jump ball, they came out with a lot of energy and shocking the Fraport Skyliners Juniors by leading by 10 points in the break. In the second half, Frankfurt was sparked by a snowfall of three´s deciding the game and sending the Dragons home with a lot of thoughts about how they could of somehow pulled out the win. One of those guys that had a few hours to think about the loss as the mini bus was traveling back to Rhondorf on clear and wet roads as the snow had subsided was Kameron Taylor. The Maryland native who played at Seton Hill(NCAA) and at Ehingen(Pro A) last season had had another big game producing 28 points and hauling down 12 rebounds, but it wasn´t enough as not being able to lead his team to victory surely was eating at him. With the Frankfurt loss in the back of his mind, his head was also being challenged with memories of the horrible 90-67 loss in Giessen earlier in the season as they did a great job limiting Taylor on offense. In Giessen Taylor had his lowest point total of the season and attempted his fewest shots of the season with only five. Taylor was double focused and hungry to seek revenge against Giessen and also had no worries of getting late to his home living room, but this time the tables were turned. Not only didn´t Giessen show up until 30 minutes before game time, but the Giessen Taylor wasn´t present as weren´t other key players like Nick Hornsby and Bjarne Kraushaar as they were giving their services to the Giessen BBL team in Braunschweig that prevailed on the road. The Dragons Rhondorf went into the game as the heavy favorite, but instead left the floor after 40 minutes losing 76-71 as Kameron Taylor flirted with another triple double and 18 year old German NBBL youth player Tim Uhlemann scored seven of Giessen´s last nine points rallying his team to an amazing come back win with only seven players. “Despite playing Wednesday against Schwelm and today with only seven players, we got the most out of everyone. We started slow, but we always believed in ourselves and we always found our rhythm as the game went on while Rhondorf lost it”, stressed Marian Schick. Rhondorf lost their first home game of the season and their heart and soul Viktor Frankl-Maus was extra disappointed by the loss. “We had had a similar situation two weeks ago against Wurzburg and pulled out the win. They had seven players, but we had only nine players so the difference wasn´t that great. We were missing our bigs and Alex Moeller was in foul trouble. Giessen fought hard and always hit shots when they had to. We didn´t have the needed self confidence at the end”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. “We went in and did the best we could and wanted to give the win to the guys who weren´t there”, added Tim Uhlemann.
The Dragons Rhondorf came into the game motivated and didn´t underestimate the Giessen 46ers Rackelos speeding out to a quick 10-0 lead as they were able to halt the first seven possessions of Giessen contesting most shots which sparked their offense. The Dragons Rhondorf got two buckets from Kameron Taylor who scored in the first four seconds, Frankl-Maus also scored four points and big man Alexander Moeller dropped free throws. After a Giessen timeout, they went to zone which quickly started to handicap Rhondorf as it helped them rally and get back into the game as they went on a 9-3 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 15-11. In the run, Giessen who had to play with their BBL jersey´s was led by ex German national player Johannes Lischka who scored six points including a pretty finger tip roll in as he was all over in the paint area. Rhondorf lost intensity and became lackadaisical and got quick five team fouls which allowed Giessen to get to the line. Rhondorf led only 17-12 after one quarter as they were unable to get the most out of their resources. “It was an ugly game. We started off well, but then we were unable to finish well. We were hitting nothing from outside as the shots weren´t contested, but mostly open shots. Giessen did a good job coming back”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schamborn. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 32% from the field and 9% from outside while the Giessen 46ers Rackelos were shooting 14% from the field and 0% from outside. Rhondorf had the 14-12 rebound lead and three turnovers and Giessen four turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf quickly jumped all over the Giessen 46ers Rackelos going on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 27-14. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf once again upped their defense led by ex Ehingen guard Kameron Taylor who made a big block on Alen Pjanic and made a steal and were able to get fast break buckets from Frankl-Maus and 24 year old ex Bayer Uerdingen guard Patrick Reusch. German Thomas Michel and Kameron Taylor also scored in the paint. Rhondorf was doing a good job getting easy buckets in the paint compensating their horrible three point accuracy. 18 year old 203cm Tim Uhlemann made a huge play blocking Thomas Michel on the penetration as the youngster gave a first sign of his talent as it would really come to life in crunch-time. Giessen then shocked Rhondorf with a lightening 6-0 run to cut the Dragons lead to 27-20 as 30 year old veteran German Marian Schick who played three seasons with Hanau showed his inside out game hitting a trey wearing the John Bryant jersey and scoring a layup. Giessen kept up the lead and pressure as they continued to get valuable production from their Germans Anton Geretzki, Viktor Frankl-Maus and Patrick Reusch for the 34-25 lead. But Giessen never let up or lost confidence in not being able to keep pace with Rhondorf as they chipped away and had success on offense as Schick dropped another trey and Lischka scored in the paint cutting the Rhondorf advantage to 36-30. Taylor closed out the first half with a pull up jumper with two seconds remaining as Rhondorf led 38-30. “We led by only eight points and could have been playing a lot better. Giessen hurt our zone and we didn´t make good decisions”, added Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 39% from the field and 11% from the three point line while the Giessen 46ers Rackelos were shooting 32% from the field and 38% from outside. Giessen had the 22-21 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Giessen had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, Rhondorf held the lead, but Giessen continued to stay on the heels of the home team. Giessen NBBL player Tim Kordyaka got Giessen on the board first after he dropped a trey after the club had established nice ball movement and Schick made a free throw as Rhondorf led only 38-34. Rhondorf responded with a furious 6-0 run as their guard play ruled as Taylor set up Frankl-Maus twice and the American then scored on transition as Rhondorf led 44-34. Giessen shot back going on a 8-2 run as they cut Rhondorfs lead to only 46-42. In the run, Giessen was sparked by Schick who was aggressive in the paint scoring twice and Lischka hit his bread and butter step back jumper. Then all of a sudden both teams found their range from outside as Rhondorf got key three´s from Frankl-Maus and Michel while Giessen got trey´s from Pjanic and ex Nordlingen guard Leo Vrkas, but Rhondorf still had the narrow 56-50 lead. “The game was ugly and you could see that both teams were tired. Our energy was missing and we were unable to make the extra step”, added Viktor Frankl-Maus. “We knew that we had to work harder in our zone defense, because Rhondorf was still getting easy baskets inside. We calmed down a bit on offense and stayed in the game”, added Marian Schick. The Dragons Rhondorf was shooting 42% from the field and 16% from the parking lot while the Giessen 46ers Rackelos were shooting 35% from the field and 43% from the parking lot. Giessen had the 33-30 rebound edge and had 13 turnovers while Rhondorf had 11 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a real dog fight as Rhondorf had a horrible start which allowed Giessen to threaten, take the lead and win the game. Giessen stopped Rhondorf´s first seven possessions allowing no field goals and got only three points from free throws from Reusch and Taylor and were able to cut their lead to 58-57. Giessen continued to get great support from their work horse Johannes Lischka who scored twice in the paint and Pjanic made a beautiful tip in alley-op on a perfect Vrkas feed. The great Giessen come back continued to get their emotions high which sparked NBBL player Tim Uhlemann to new heights as he nailed a three from the corner giving Giessen it´s first lead of the game at 60-59. That was short lived as Taylor hit a step back jumper for the 61-60 lead. Giessen kept battling and got quick buckets form Lischka and Pjanic for the 65-61 advantage. Michel and Pjanic then traded baskets, but Giessen still led 67-63 with 3,41 minutes remaining. Rhondorf then went on a key 6-0 run to lead 69-67 heightening their defense forcing a few turnovers and Mr energy Patrick Reusch nailed two clutch pull up jumpers not hesitating for a second finding nothing but net. When many thought it would be Taylor time, it was actually Uhlemann time as he stepped up again hitting a huge three for the 70-69 Giessen lead. “Joe Lischka found me in the corner. I believe that his good play sparked my good play”, added Tim Uhlemann. “I saw Uhlemann play in the Oberliga yesterday and told him before this game just to go out and play your game and shoot whenever your open.”, smiled Marian Schick. Taylor gave Rhondorf their last lead 71-70 with 38 seconds to go. Uhlemann showed no nerves hitting two free throws as Giessen led again 72-71 with 24 seconds to go and never looked back. With 24 seconds to go Rhondorf elected to give Latvian lion Ronalds Elknis the three attempt, but he missed. Pjanic then made free throws for the 74-71 lead. Taylor missed to tie the game and Uhlemann closed out the game with free throws. “We did a good job on the last two possessions. I stayed off Elksnis giving him the shot rather than letting a Frankl-Maus or Geretzki get open shots. We contested Taylor well. We stayed calm at the end and made all the right decisions and had the needed self confidence”, added Marian Schick. “Elksnis had the best opportunity and I told him earlier to shoot when open. We had bad luck as shots were going in at the other end. Giessen hit their shots and made all the right decisions. We didn´t have Uhlemann on the scouting sheet. He came up big and you have to respect that”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. The Giessen 46ers Rackelos were led by Johannes Lischka with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Marian Schick added 14 points and Tim Uhlemann had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Alen Pjanic had 12 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kameron Taylor with 23 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists, three steals and four blocks. Viktor Frankl-Maus produced 18 points and Thomas Michel and Patrick Reusch added 11 points apiece. The Giessen 46ers Rackelos shot 38% from the field and 42% from outside while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 40% from the field and 13% from outside, Giessen won the rebound battle 46-38, but had 17 turnovers while Rhondorf coughed up the ball 13 times.