After the huge 89-86 win in Coburg where Kameron Taylor made himself immortal to Dragons Rhondorf fans with his amazing 35 point, 10 rebound and 12 assist masterpiece against Coburg in their own posh living room and made everybody there happy until the next game, their whole hard work of practice and hopes of continuing their winning streak to two games were crushed in Leverkusen as a seemingly comfortable 62-54 lead heading into the fourth quarter on the road was squashed. They relinquished an unacceptable 34-13 last quarter making the last weeks seem like an eternity as the club with the massive ambitious to move up to the Pro A have lost three of their last four games. The players escaped off the court in Leverkusen full with embarrassment and shame and were wishing that they could of somehow got back that fourth quarter and done it better. A week later, the Dragons Rhondorf returned back to their home court with a lot of question marks and did some real soul searching the last week, but knew that coming home is always positive since they are a very tough team to beat inside their own four walls. The club also knew that they had beat the Dresden Titans on the road holding their nerves 73-71 as their ex player Canadian Kevin Thomas had sealed the win with free throws. However this time both teams were a bit different as Dresden had hauled in three new players with Magnum, Debache and Hall and the Dragons had gotten Brandon Watkins. Kameron Taylor wanted to continue his stellar play at home and help lead his team to a new winning streak while the Dresden Titans wanted to continue their impressive defense after giving up only 52 points against FC Bayern Munich last weekend. Taylor came through again as he registered his second triple double in a row at home and second in three games lifting the Dragons Rhondorf to a convincing 91-74. Win. Despite his stellar game of 22 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, the club showed in the fourth quarter that they are a real team as they stepped up in a big way getting much scoring punch from various players while Taylor scored only one point. “We didn´t have that fire against Leverkusen, but did a good job maintaining it for the whole game against Dresden. We let down a bit in the second half, but played team basketball, rebounded well and made them take tough shots. We did get called for some fouls behind the three point line, but we rather play aggressive defense than play passive defense”, warned ex Ehingen guard Kameron Taylor. The Dresden Titans had a bad start and played catch up basketball for the whole game, staged a huge comeback in the third quarter, but couldn´t stay consistent on defense in the fourth quarter as their decreasing energy bit them in their own butt. “We were overrun at the start. We wanted to stop their transition, play good help defense and good set defense, but we didn´t do any of that tonight. We did a pretty good job against their zone press and came back, but ran out of energy in the fourth quarter. We had a bad break with the Sebastian Heck disqualification foul, but Rhondorf is a very good team, but we could of played a lot better”, warned ex American(NCAA) guard Janek Schmidtkunz. “We gave up too many transition baskets and rebounded badly, but we never gave up and fought until the end”, added ex Easter Michigan(NCAA) guard Willie Mangum.
The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t wake up at the wrong side of the bed, but came out flying going on a quick 6-0 lead as Kameron Taylor got going instantly scoring all six points. Taylor continues to demonstrate why it continues to look like he is a man playing among boys. “When I first saw him in August, I could see the kind of potential that he had. I wanted to help him be more effective while dribbling less, but still being able to score. He is such an amazing athlete and by far the strongest on the court. He has developed so well this season that it will be exciting to see what else he will be able to do in the future”, warned Telekom Baskets Bonn center Julian Gamble. Mangum who later would show why they called him the microwave in high school and college nailed a trey cutting the Rhondorf lead to 6-3 after Dresden had been stumped on their first four possessions. However it didn´t get any better for Dresden as they couldn´t muster any suitable offense as Rhondorf hit them with a bitter 18-3 run upping their lead to 24-3. In the run, Rhondorf got two buckets from Taylor and two lay ins from ex Telekom Baskets Bonn forward Thomas Michel and ex W Virginia(NCAA) forward Brandon Watkins. Rhondorf did a great job getting baskets on transition and taking advantage of a early fifth team foul getting to the free throw line with ease. However the first quarter wasn´t a total flop for the Dresden Titans as they demonstrated why basketball is so exciting as Schmidkunz and ex Duesseldorf guard Larry Hall who is playing in his 15th country in his 11th season nailed back to back trey´s cutting the Rhondorf lead to 24-12. After one quarter the Dragons Rhondorf had the commanding lead and were shooting at a higher rate and had the overwhelming rebound edge at 13-4, but their only negative aspect was their five turnovers to two for Dresden. “Rhondorf did a good job with their press which disrupted Dresden´s offense. Their long arms created a lot of deflections which led to easy baskets and that is when Kameron Taylor is at his best”, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn center Julian Gamble.
In the second quarter, Rhondorf continued controlling the game despite a comeback by the Dresden Titans which they were unable to sustain. Both club´s got their offenses rolling right of the bat as ex Nordlingen guard Janel Schmidkunz scored two buckets as his offensive aggressiveness paid off, but Rhondorf also had their mark as they got free throws from Patrick Reusch. They also displayed perfect transition basketball as 2017 Pro B assist leader Viktor Frankl-Maus started the fast break and got it to Taylor who almost lost it behind the basket, but saved the ball and as if he had eyes in the back of his head shoveled the ball to the trailer Alexander Moeller making the easy basket who recently had made his Basketball Champions League debut with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Rhondorf had the steady 31-20 lead at the 7,23 mark, but then witnessed a moment of weakness allowing a 10-2 Dresden run as they suddenly were on Rhondorf´s heels 33-30. Dresden fans could have been thinking why would we ever need a Taylor when we have a Mangum who entered the zone and was playing as if he was on the playground by himself and dropped shot after shot as he scored all 10 points. The Virginia native nailed two three´s, a step back and a floater. “Being able to pull something off like that has to do with confidence. Once I get going, I´m rolling. I am still making adjustments, but once I do get adjusted, I will be even better”, warned Dresden Titan guard Willie Mangum. However the Dragons Rhondorf did a good job stopping the Mangum momentum and closed out the second quarter with a potent 13-6 run to go into half-time with the comfortable 46-33 advantage. In the stretch run of the second quarter, they got valuable play from their German role players as Alexander Moeller who averaged 14 and 7 stats in the NBBL last season scored twice in the paint and Valentin Blass also proved again that his 42% three point accuracy is no fluke as he connected twice. Schmidkunz kept Dresden somewhat afloat with a lay in and free throw. “Once Dresden attacked the press, they didn´t have to run their offense as much. Dresden did a good job attacking the zone with their drive and kick. Mangum kept them in the game, but after that run, they didn´t get as good shots as Rhondorf did a better job staying in front of the players which made it harder to score”, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn center Julian Gamble. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 54% from the field and 33% from outside while grabbing 24 rebounds, but coughed up the ball 11 times. The Dresden Titans were shooting 32% from the field and 26% from outside and hauled down 15 rebounds and had only seven turnovers.
The third frame was the tale of two quarters as the Dragons Rhondorf dominated the first three minutes and the Dresden Titans the last seven minutes as they shrunk down the opponents lead from 19 points to two points and trailed by four points after 30 minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf came out of half-time hot going on a quick 9-3 run catching Dresden off guard and extended their lead to 55-36. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf did a good job staying aggressive and getting to the free throw line as they got production from Frankl-Maus, Taylor and Moeller and got a basket from Michel. However the Dresden Titans were able to stage another super comeback closing out the third quarter in style with another potent run of 24-9. Once again Mangum was the spark plug scoring 13 points as he did it in his own inside out manner. “He is a fantastic shooter. Every time he shoots, it looks like it will go in”, stressed ex Seton Hill(NCAA) guard Kameron Taylor. German modern forward Helge Baues who played 12 games for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and played the last two seasons in the Pro A also contributed to the big Dresden run dropping two trey´s. After 3o minutes the Dragons Rhondorf had to watch their rear view mirror as they were leading only 64-60. “We knew they had good shooters and would go on a run. They ran their offense well and did a good job attacking and kicking. We didn´t play good one on one defense”, warned Kameron Taylor. “We got stops and had Taylor better under control. Our zone defense was working well, we got easy baskets and just made plays. We knew we would get this chance to come back”, stressed Janek Schmidkunz. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 45% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had secured 38 rebounds, but had 17 turnovers. The Dresden Titans were shooting 38% from the field and 31% from the three point line and had grabbed 23 rebounds and had coughed up the ball only eight times.
In the fourth quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf proved they could be a good team and not rely on the scoring of Taylor as he produced no field goal as the German role players came threw and played great. The Dresden Titans produced a quick 4-2 run as Schmidkunz and Baus scored as it seemed like they may get over the hump as they cut the Rhondorf lead to 66-64, but a neck breaking 10-0 run by the home team hurt the moral of Dresden as they upped their lead to 76-64. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf received big support from their German role players Thomas Michel and 20 year old Anton Geretzki who nailed a trey. Reusch continued to show that he can be a scorer off the bench as he contributed 5 points and quietly finished with 10 points and seven assists in 19 minutes and was the second most effective player after Taylor on the team. Rhondorf showed in this run that they are a team that continues to grow as they stayed calm in a phase where Dresden was on their door step and just didn´t allow them to get a rhythm. Even after a Sebastian Heck three and Schmidkunz free throw to cut the Rhondorf lead to 76-68, the home team rattled off another big run of 11-2 to extend their lead to 87-70 which quietly sealed the win with a few minutes to go. In the run, Rhondorf continued to mostly get production from their Germans as they stepped up time after time after time as Geretzki and Michel carried the offensive load with two three´s. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to get stops and the German role players continued to play good team basketball while Kameron Taylor didn´t need to score, but needed to get one assist for the triple double and did. After the huge win, the Maryland native was as usual humble in his success. “Triple doubles are nothing new for me. If I play with energy and fire and my teammates make shots then I can make one each game. I couldn´t do it without them”, said Kameron Taylor. “We were missing energy at the end and we gave up too many easy lay ups. We played risky at times sinking off players that we didn´t have on our scouting report and they made big shots”, added Janke Schmidkunz. “Dresden keyed in on me. I can´t always take all the shots, so my teammates stepped up and played good team basketball. I am proud of them”, warned Kameron Taylor. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kameron Taylor with 22 points, 14 boards and 12 assists. Alex Moeller added 11 points and Patrick Reusch 10 points. The Dresden Titans were led by Willie Mangum with 28 points. Janek Schmidkunz added 17 points and six assists and Helge Baues 13 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 50% from the field and 50% from the parking lot and finished with 47 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the Dresden Titans shot 36% from the field and 27% from the parking lot and they finished with 28 rebounds and 11 coughed up balls.