With 45 seconds to play in game 2, Rostock Seawolves guard Brandon Lockhart made a lay in and were trailing 69-68. With the game winding down, Rostock enlarged the amazing atmosphere and noise level in the Stadthalle arena as they saved the best for last in terms of defensive presence not allowing their opponent Giessen from getting a shot off in the allowed 24 seconds setting up a possible heroic experience for Rostock on the last play that would have sent the home arena into an electric frenzy never seen before, but instead as the buzzer sounded, the Rostock Seawolves had to look forward to another 6 hours bus ride for a do or die game in Giessen. The last 18 seconds seemed like a basketball eternity as they had two golden chances through Jordan Talbert and Chris Frazier, but couldn´t get the ball to sink through the netting as the sold out arena and 3000 fan´s hearts sank and upset the Easter Sunday with unmemorable basketball thoughts as they were looking for Easter eggs. Instead of welcoming Iserlohn for a semi-final clash they had a do or die game in Giessen. The good news for Rostock was that they had won game one on the road and Rostock´s two top Americans Brandon Lockhart and Jordan Talbert have had good experiences in Pro B do or die battles combined having a 5-1 record with both winning against Oldenburg and Wurzburg as teammates with Nordlingen two seasons ago and last season Talbert defeating ex teammate and friend Lockhart with the ScanPlus Baskets. On an untypical very warm Sunday evening in early April the Rostock Seawolves returned to Giessen for a do or die duel and if fans thought that game 2 had been exciting, well game 3 topped that as both teams battled through two overtimes with the Rostock Seawolves coming out with the stronger nerves and a self confident Brandon Lockhart who nailed two big buckets to seal the well deserved 93-89 victory. “What a crazy game. You think you have the game won and a technical takes you into overtime. We knew that we had to win this game to be able to achieve our goals. We refocused after the technical and we continued to fight. We were down 10 points, but no one quit. Our fight was our most important strength tonight”, stressed ex Drury(NCAA2) guard Brandon Lockhart. Giessen gave all they had, but just couldn´t get the needed stops down the stretch and finished their season with low spirits, but will never forget that they gave Rostock all that they had. “Both teams competed very hard and I have to give credit to Rostock for the win. We had a good season, but came a little short at the end. A couple mistakes down the stretch cost us the game, but we played our hearts out”, stressed ex FIU (NCAA) guard Dennis Mavin.
Even though it was a very warm 25C at game time in early April which could of warranted that first visit in the outside café in 2018, but many fans turned out filling one side of the Ost gym in Giessen while some Rostock fans made the 6 hour trip and weren´t disappointed. Even ex Jordan Talbert teammate Skyller Bowlin made the 2 hour car ride from Jena to cheer on his friend who were teammates at Missouri Southern(NCAA2). The Rostock Sea Wolves got the quick 7-2 lead as Rostock´s two star Americans Brandon Lockhart and Jordan Talbert supplied instant points inside as their athleticism gave Giessen head aches all night long. Despite the good start by the guests, it didn´t faze Giessen as they demonstrated that basketball is a game of runs as they exploded for a 12-3 run to gain their first lead of the night 14-10. The run really unnerved Rostock as the home squad hitt two very difficult shots as ex Sacramento St. (NCAA) forward Nick Hornsby hit a wild shot clock buzzer beater and Dennis Mavin scored while tumbling to the ground. Also key in the run was 20 year old 195cm Leon Okpara who learned his basketball trade with TV Blatzheim as he drained a tough trey and scored in the paint with a reverse lay up. Rostock reacted well from this run showing again why basketball is a game of runs finishing the first quarter with a lethal 9-0 run to lead 19-14 after 10 minutes. Rostock heightened their offensive intensity and attacked the zone and had success as ex RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (ProB) German Dennis Teucher made a nifty left handed lay in and ex Cuxhaven forward Bill Borekambi finished in the lane. Rostock also got valuable support off the bench from 22 year old ex Fordham(NCAA) guard Zaire Thompson who drilled two pull up jumpers. “Rostock did a good job slowing down Johannes Lischka. They played zone and forced Giessen too shoot, but they missed many open shots”, stressed Giessen 46er assistant coach Steven Wriedt. The Rostock Seawolves were shooting 53% from the field and 33% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 3 turnovers while Giessen was shooting 33% from the field and 25% from outside and they had 7 rebounds and one turnover.
In the second quarter both teams had a lull, but Rostock overcame it best and got a nice lead carrying it into halftime. Both teams got a few buckets in the first minute as Rostock got transition points from Croatian Dino Butorac who played with Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan) some years ago and a jumper from 22 year old ex Uni-Riesen Leipzig (ProB) forward Darian Cardenas who was sporting a nice mohawk while Mavin supplied a trey for Giessen, but Rostock still led 23-17. Then both teams had massive lulls, but Rostock recovered best going on a 9-5 run to lead 32-22. Rostock did a good job using many offensive options as Borekambi continued to show his stellar game hitting a fade away and connecting on a floater while ex Artland Dragon Chris Frazier scored on transition and Teucher converted the pick and roll with a lay in. Giessen got instant points from Hornsby with Lischka giving him the extra pass and 2013 JBBL rookie of the year Bjarne Kraushaar scored against the zone. Rostock´s bread and butter is their defense and they picked it up playing more aggressive which miffed Giessen in their sets and led to easy transition baskets for the guests. Rostock also continued to keep Lischka off the scoreboard. Giessen kept the lead down the stretch, but Giessen didn´t back down as they attacked on offense as Dennis Mavin continued to be a one man offensive wrecking crew as he easily was the fastest on the court and used his quickness to his advantage. He scored in traffic inside and then did it again with a brutal spin move as his one on one skills proved to be a disadvantage for Rostock. Ex Ehingen Big man Marian Schick showed his precise passing skills finding Hornsby back door for the easy bucket, but the Rostock Seawolves still had the 36-28 advantage at the break. “Rostock hurt Giessen with their transition as they couldn´t get back quick enough. Giessen gave up too many easy lay ups as the one on one defense wasn´t good”, stressed Giessen 46er assistant coach Steven Wriedt. The Rostock Seawolves were shooting 50% from the field and 34% from the three point line and had hauled down 22 rebounds and had 7 turnovers while Giessen was shooting 38% from the field and 21% from the three point line and had hauled down 13 rebounds and had 5 turnovers.
In the third quarter, the game turned around as Giessen stepped up their game and regained the lead making the contest a real exciting and thrilling playoff dogfight. Giessen came out of the break refocused and with new life taking it to Rostock going on a 15-6 run to retake the lead 43-32. In the run, Giessen stopped Rostock´s first 5 possessions and it was the two man wrecking crew of Hornsby and 20 year old 200cm Alen Pjanic who has 11 easyCredit BBL games on his resume as they combined for 12 points. Hornsby really got going dropping a three and scoring twice inside while Pjanic scored twice inside once of the inbounds pass catching Rostock asleep and making a hard dunk. That bucket only came about on account of Dennis Mavin who broke the nasty Rostock trap finding an open Kraushaar who served up the perfect alley-op dunk for Pjanic. Giessen did a better job getting Lischka more touches and more involved on offense and shut down the Rostock transition. Giessen would keep the lead after three quarters 49-47. Rostock got a key trey in the last seconds from Frazier. “We changed our defensive intensity and stopped their transition better”, stressed Dennis Mavin. “Giessen came out more aggressive in the third quarter. They knew that we penetrated well and clogged the lane better. Sometimes they had 4 guys in the lane”, added Brandon Lockhart. Giessen was shooting 38% from the field and 21% from the parking lot and they had grabbed 23 rebounds and had 5 turnovers while the Rostock Seawolves were shooting 42% from the field and 15% from the parking lot and they had grabbed 33 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Giessen continued to control the game and led by as much as 10 points with 3.08 to go and seemed like the sure winner, but Rostock made one more run to save their season and with some misfortune brought it into overtime as they totally turned the game around and should have won at the end of 40 minutes, but didn´t. Just like to begin of the third quarter, Giessen came out strong again in the fourth quarter shocking Rostock with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 56-47 stopping Rostock´s first 4 possessions. In the run, Giessen received vital support from Germans Okpara and Lischka that finished inside while 31 year old 202cm center Marian Schick tested his 28,6% shooting from outside and saw nothing but net. The Giessen fans were going wild, while the Rostock Seawolves only had a faint howl. Giessen continued to clog the lane well while on offense even though he wasn´t scoring Mavin kept the team together and made big plays. Rostock finally got their first field goal at the 6,34 minute mark as Lockhart scored which propelled Rostock to stay in the game getting a bucket from Borekambi and Locket again cutting the Giessen lead to 59-53 as their trap defense annoyed Giessen. However Giessen got some instant offense from their Americans Hornsby and Mavin inside extending the Giessen lead to 65-55 with a little more than 3 minutes to go. “We moved the ball better and had less one on one play”, added Dennis Mavin. However Rostock still had energy and didn´t throw their season away going on a key 9-0 run to cut the Giessen lead to only 65-64. In the run, they upped the aggressiveness on their defense and practiced their nasty trap. On offense they continued to chip away as Talbert hit a big trey and made two free throws and Teucher continued to be a spark on offense in key moments as he scored twice. With time running out, Borekambi made an offense rebound and put back to dead lock the game at 66-66. With 10 seconds to go, Giessen had it in their hands to win the game, but coughed up the ball. Rostock had possession and Teucher drew a foul with no time remaining on the clock. He missed the first one, but hit the second one for the 67-66 lead. However the Rostock bench celebrated too soon rushing out on the court resulting in a technical which Bjarne Kraushaar nailed forcing overtime. “Rostock made big stops and they had their run. I had never seen something like that technical at the end. We were lucky that Kraushaar made the free throw”, expressed Dennis Mavin. “We were just trying to survive at the end. When we were down 10 points, no one quit. They relaxed a bit. We wanted it more, added Brandon Lockhart. Giessen was shooting 39% from the field and 24% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Rostock Seawolves were shooting 42% from the field and 15% from outside and they had 42 rebounds and 17 turnovers.
In the first overtime, Lockhart and Lischka traded baskets as the contest remained deadlocked at 69-69. Rostock got away somewhat getting back to back offensive rebounds and put backs by Talbert and Borekambi as Giessen was getting more tired in the paint and Rostock upped their lead to 74-71. After Kraushaar free throws cut the Rostock advantage to 74-73, Frazier hit a big three for the 77-73 lead. Giessen continued to fight for their season as Hornsby found Pjanic all alone underneath for the easy lay as Rostock led 77-76. After Lockhart free throws, it was Mavin making a lay in with 35 seconds to go. After a Rostock stop, Mavin tied the game with a free throw 79-79. Rostock had 7 seconds remaining to win the game, but a Lockhart shot came up short. “Giessen never gave up. We had the chance to win it, but came up short again”, said Brandon Lockhart. “Everybody was playing with adrenaline. It was a tough series and nobody wanted to lose. We did all we could to stay alive”, stressed Dennis Mavin. Giessen was shooting 41% from the field and 24% from the three point line and had 34 rebounds and 13 turnovers while Rostock was shooting 43% from the field and 17% from the three point line and had had 47 rebounds and 19 turnovers.
In the second overtime, Rostock got away from Giessen again only to see the home team recover and tie up the game again, but Giessen couldn´t come back a second time as Brandon Lockhart was the double overtime hero. Mavin and Borekambi traded early baskets in the second overtime as the contest was tied 81-81. Rostock then got back to back stops which led to a Talbert trey and Borekambi lay in and 86-81 Rostock advantage. However Giessen had one last gasp of energy as Pjanic was clutch nailing a trey and then making a monster block and two more free throws dead locking the game at 86-86. “Pjanic is very athletic and lives above the rim. He made big plays for us tonight and was very important for us”, added Dennis Mavin. However the Rostock Seawolves then slammed the door in the face of Giessen going on a brutal 7-0 run to seal the win as they led 93-86. Lockhart was clutch scoring inside as his quickness beat Giessen once again and then he nailed a trey from the top of the key while Borekambi netted free throws. Ex Nordlingen German Leo Vrkas hit a trey in the last seconds, but it was too little too late. “I just took what the defense gave me. They clogged the lane and I just shot the three. My teammates had been telling me to shoot all game long. I was thankful I made that shot”, smiled Brandon Lockhart. “We knew that Lockhart was a great player. He made big plays at the end. Hats off to his game”, added Dennis Mavin. The Rostock Seawolves next have a date with Iserlohn for the fight to the final and Pro A ticket. ”We won´t underestimate Iserlohn. We know that they beat Artland. I didn´t shoot well in this series. I am sure that we will heighten our game against Iserlohn. When everyone is clicking then it is hard to play us”, warned Chris Frazier. The Rostock Seawolves were led by Bill Borekambi with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Talbert added 20 points and 12 rebounds while Brandon Lockhart added 19 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Giessen was led by Alen Pjanic with 20 points. Dennis Mavin added 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists and Nick Hornsby contributed 17 points. The Rostock Seawolves shot 45% from the field and 22% from outside and secured 51 rebounds and had 20 turnovers while Giessen shot 40% from the field and 27% from outside and secured 38 rebounds and 15 turnovers.