There were some amazing memories from the regular season that Dragons Rhondorf fans won´t forget so quickly like the unbelievable buzzer beater by Kameron Taylor against the Fraport Skylines Juniors or his back to back home triple doubles against BBC Coburg and the Dresden Titans, but those were all put on the back burner as the real season began now with the playoffs where the focus is on the Pro B title. However the Dragons Rhondorf couldn´t have been drawn a more annoying opponent with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel. Granted they had two wins less than Rhondorf and were in sixth place in the regular season while the troops of head coach Thomas Adelt finished in third place, but the guests are a very talented team that carry some BBL license players from BBL team Braunschweig that could be the x-factor in this series. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig played the night before in Bayreuth and MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel had their German BBL license players ready to battle in Rhondorf which upped their depth a tad more giving them that advantage over the Dragons Rhondorf. Not only were many eyes on the Wolfenbuettel double license players, but also the duel of the night between the two guards Kameron Taylor and Demetrius Ward. It is always a delight to see two of the leagues best American point guards go head to head and they are the two players that carry their teams and get them going. The Dragons Rhondorf entered the game with a two game losing streak and had to win as going down 1-0 to Wolfenbuettel wasn´t on the Dragons menu while MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel entered the playoffs playing spirited basketball having a three game winning streak and won their fourth game in a row 83-76 taking a 1-0 playoff lead in the best of three series. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel came into the game with 95 BBL games experience with their double license players and got 40 points from them overpowering the Dragons Rhondorf. After the victory the content American and heart and soul of the team Demetrius Ward reflected on the win, but also had an eye on his injured teammate German Tom Alte who went down hard with 7 seconds to go falling on Viktor Frankl-Maus´s foot that most likely ended his season. “The game plan was coming in here and limit our turnovers. We knew that Rhondorf have fast guards with Taylor and Frankl-Maus and like to play transition basketball. We played good transition defense and stayed consistent for the whole game. We stayed poised and just played our brand of basketball. We limited our 1-1 play and played team basketball. We did an overall good job paying attention to the scouting report”, stressed Michigan native Demetrius Ward. The Dragons Rhondorf played their hearts out, but were playing catch up basketball all night long and just couldn´t contend with the various Wolfenbuettel weapons over 40 minutes. After the loss, top Pro B player Kameron Taylor was more than disappointed about coming up short. “We were unable to get stops the whole game. They got too many easy baskets. When we did get stops, we couldn´t execute on offense. We tried to be aggressive, but they got in the lane too much getting easy baskets”, stated Maryland native Kameron Taylor.
There was a lot of basketball prominence in the Dragon Dome as Telekom Baskets Bonn players TJ Dileo and Julian Gamble were on hand as was the manager Michael Wichterich and representatives of Pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg were on hand with manager Matthias Lautenschlager and head coach Frenki Ignatovic to observe Kameron Taylor. The Dragon fans weren´t disappointed in the first few minutes as Rhondorf came out aggressive and took a quick 7-0 lead playing their brand of basketball. Big man Alexander Moeller who has played 2 Champions League games with Bonn this season scored inside and hit a 20 footer while three point specialist Thomas Michael connected on a trey. On the defensive end, the Dragons Rhondorf halted Wolfenbuettel´s first five possessions as they seemed a bit nervous and missed easy baskets in the paint. However Wolfenbuettel stepped it up on defense causing Rhondorf to cough up the ball three straight times and went on a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the game 10-9. German 207 cm youngster Lars Lagerpusch who averaged 21,0ppg in the NBBL last season scored five unanswered points, Demetrius Ward stroked home a trey and ex TV Langen lefty Tom Alte made a left handed hook shot. It didn´t take the guests long to get into rhythm. Then the lead would go back and forth as both teams were in rhythm as ex West Virginia(NCAA) forward Brandon Watkins hit a 20 footer and ex Paderborn swing man Luis Figge scored inside demonstrating that he was born with athleticism. Michel locked up the game with a trey at 14-14. However Wolfenbuettel were the stronger team and now had real offensive consistency closing out the first quarter with a 9-3 run to lead comfortably 23-17. In the run they got another key trey from Ward, an offensive rebound and put back by Figge and 22 year old 208cm center Ole Angerstein made a put back. “Rhondorf started fast, but Lagerpusch got going and as a BBL license player had confidence going into a third league game. Kameron Taylor could have been more aggressive. He wasn´t nervous, but excited. Moeller also did a good job attacking. Despite the size disadvantage, Rhondorf was rebounding well”, stated ex Miami(NCAA) Hurricane center Julian Gamble. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel was shooting 59% from the field and 50% from outside and had grabbed 7 rebounds and had 3 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 47% from the field and 40% from outside and had grabbed 9 rebounds, but had 5 turnovers.
In the second quarter, MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel kept the lead having the advantage by as much as 9 points, but the Dragons Rhondorf continued to stay on their door step and were only down by three points at the break. Watkins got Rhondorf on the board first in the second quarter as Watkins made a tip in dunk cutting the Wolfenbuettel lead down to 23-19. However the guests continued to attack the paint area and would always get close to the basket and received easy buckets from Figge and ex High Point(NCAA) forward Tarique Thompson and extend their lead to 28-20. Wolfenbuettel also had their snipers and annoyed Rhondorf with their hot shooting as ex Giessen 46er Niklas Bilski hit a trey as did Ward for the 34-25 advantage. However Rhondorf never let up and Kameron Taylor started to blast off hitting his bread and butter the pull up jumper and making a tap in while German Valentin Blass also scored cutting the Wolfenbuettel lead down to 34-29. Rhondorf was able to play their reliable transition basketball, but just couldn´t defend on a cosnsitent basis as Wolfenbuettel´s lethal offense that averaged 80 points per game continued to execute with ease. An Angerstein thunderous dunk and another three by Ward upped Wolfenbuettel´s lead to 39-30. One thing you can´t criticize about the Dragons Rhondorf is that they don´t play with heart. They closed out the second quarter in fine fashion going on a 10-4 run to trail only 43-40 at halftime. Rhondorf had to fight for every bucket and got five points from Michel, got a Taylor transition bucket and Moeller free throws. “Wolfenbuettel hit many three´s and Ward was amazing being 4/6. Rhondorf stayed in the game with a few steals and transition baskets and did a good job crashing the offensive glass. Taylor finally got going, but that was expected as he has been doing it all season long”, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn center Julian Gamble. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel were shooting 53% from the field and 38% from the three point line and had secured 13 rebounds and had six turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 48% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had secured 20 rebounds and had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel threatend to break away early, but the Dragons Rhondorf continued to be in come back mode and continued to be in the game trailing only by two points after 30 minutes. Rhondorf was able to tie the game at 43-43 with a Thomas Michel transition basket as they had been fortified by a few easy misses by Wolfenbuettel that should have gone in. However MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel then demonstrated just how dangerous their offense can be gliding away on a quick 9-0 run to extend their lead to 52-43. In the run, the guests were doing it inside out. Ward continued to display his three point brilliance hitting another while Alte and Lagerpusch scored inside again and ex Wurzburg guard Constantin Ebert finished with a lay in as Rhondorf had mental fits with his quickness all night long. Ebert showed just how one can be a very effective point guard as he literally ran the show and was putting every teammate in good position to score. It also helped that Wolfenbuettel was successful crashing the boards and they limited Rhondorf to tough shots and closed down their transition game. However basketball is a game of runs and Rhondorf shot back with a 9-2 run to trail Wolfenbuettel only 54-52. Kameron Taylor led his team with 7 unanswered points as he was efficient with the ball and picked his spots well and got to the line and Frankl-Maus made a lay in. Rhondorf clogged the paint better, but were also helped by more easy unbelievable misses by Wolfenbuettel. The guests kept the lead as Figge´s athleticism was unstoppable as he scored inside again and Ward dropped his sixth trey of the game. Frankl-Maus kept Rhondorf on track with free throws and a trey as the Dragons Rhondorf were down only 59-57. “Rhondorf stayed in the game getting to the line and Taylor did a good job picking up fouls and Frankl-Maus hit some big shots”, warned Demetrius Ward. “We stayed in the game, because we stayed focused and never gave up attacking. They did a good job clogging the lane so I had to find my teammates more with kick outs”, added Kameron Taylor. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel were shooting 44% from the field and 37% form the parking lot and had gotten 25 rebounds and had 8 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 47% from the field and 31% form the parking lot and had gotten 30 rebounds, but had coughed up the ball 12 times.
In the fourth quarter, The Dragons Rhondorf stayed with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel, but just couldn´t keep all their weapons in check as they broke away and closed out the game well. After a Figge free throw, Brandon Watkins finished with a powerful two handed dunk to cut the guests lead to 60-59. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel knew they had to take care of business and continued to play their consistent offensive game breaking out on a 5-0 run as Tom Alte scored in bunches with a tip in dunk and then running the floor like a guard finishing with a two handed stuff for the 65-59 advantage. Wolfenbuettel was threatening to break away, but 20 year old German Anton Geretzki who registered a triple double last season in the NBBL against Cologne hit a few huge baskets cutting the Wolfenbuettel lead down to 69-64. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel simply had the more offensive resources breaking away going on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 79-68 and they would never look back. Key in the run was German Constantin Ebert who had been the x-factor hitting key baskets with a pull up jumper and reverse lay up while at the same time continuing to anchor the offense. It also didn´t hurt that a Tom Alte trey saw nothing but net as he risked testing his 18% accuracy from the parking lot. Figge also added a trey for insurance. Rhondorf couldn´t contend with the Wolfenbuettel influx of weapons and their team basketball. “ The two Ebert baskets were clutch. He did a good job running the team and communicating well on and off the court. He played his fast usual game and decision making was good”, stressed Demetrius Ward. Rhondorf did close out the game with a 8-4 run, but it was too little too late. Taylor and Michel got to the free throw line and Frankl-Maus scored, but Ebert and Ward free throws iced the win for MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel. “We did a good job knocking down shots and getting stops in crunch-time. We locked down on defense and boxed out better than in the first half”, added Demetrius Ward. “Ebert did a good job leading his team. Their shots fell and ours didn´t in crunch-time. It was fun playing against Ward. I can´t wait until next week”, warned Kameron Taylor. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel were led by Demetrius Ward with 22 points. Luis Figge added 17 points, Lars Lagerpusch 13 points and Tom Alte 11 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kameron Taylor with 17 points, 13 boards, six assists and four steals. Viktor Frankl-Maus and Thomas Michel added 15 points apiece and Alexander Moeller had 10 points. MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel shot 45% from the field and 36% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 46% from the field and 36% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 14 turnovers.