It has been a season to forget so far for the Dragons Rohndorf as they had a horrible start to the season losing their first four games and the loss of Kameron Taylor and just how vital he was for last season´s success is still on the mind of many fans in Bad Honnef. The club has had difficulty scoring points averaging only 69 per game and had problems playing consistently on defense for 40 minutes allowing 80 points per contest. Unfortunately Kameron Taylor´s don´t grow on trees and the club just haven´t been able to compensate his overall loss and what he brought at both ends of the court or have they? The club may have started poorly, but finally saw a small light at the end of the tunnel last weekend as they got a rewarding win on the road in Erfurt and a big plus for them this season has been Lithuanian big man Zygimantas Riauka who is averaging double stats wit 18,0ppg and 12,0rpg and brings back some memories of the dominance that American Aaron Nelson possessed two season´s ago. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t have any easy opponent with the ScanPlus Baskets who came to town as they were sandwiched between two tops teams the last weeks with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and now the reigning 2018 Pro B champs from Elchingen. They didn´t start off hot, but 3-2 and have had to see 5-0 teams Frankfurt and Leverkusen steal the show form them. They did have a big victory last weekend defeating ambitious team Schwenningen costing them their first loss in more than a year. They had problems with the RheinStars, but pulled out a victory and won easily against the Lowen. They could also be 5-0 had they been able to buckle down and win crunch time games against FC Bayern Munich and Coburg. Rhondorf had had to say good bye to American Raekwon Miller and EU player Joe Mvuezolo, but had picked up experienced American Kwan Waller and are hoping that he can help turn around the losing season. The Dragons Rhondorf played a solid first half and fought hard for most parts of the game, but just couldn´t match the ScanPlus Baskets Intensity and their three point accuracy and easy baskets in the second half losing 95-74. After the club´s fourth win of the season ex Flordia International(NCAA) guard Dennis Mavin was content with the win and how consistent they stayed for 40 minutes. “We stayed consistent and stuck to our principles staying aggressive on defense and it paid off in the second half. The three Alispavic three pointer´s got us going in the third and built momentum to the end”, stressed ScanPlus Baskets guard Dennis Mavin. After the blowout loss Dragons Rhondorf guard Kwam Waller had a smile on his face despite the loss, but saw the experience as positive. “We fought well, but just not consistently for 40 minutes. We didn´t do a good job getting out on the shooters. We need to work on the little things being able to make good decisions under pressure and make everything difficult for the opponent. We weren´t always able to keep the focus, but I love this team. We will get better. As long as we keep defending well we will be ok”, added guard Kwam Waller.
The Dragons Rhondorf were without German Yannick Kneesch who was sick and other German Julian Jasinski was playing at the same time with BBL team Telekom Baskets Bonn against Science city Jena. Both teams got on the board quickly as the two point guards Kwam Waller and Dennis Mavin traded buckets. Croatian Marco Jurica who balled in Austria last season hit a trey as the ScanPlus Baskets had the 5-2 lead. This quick start by the guests didn´t bother the Dragons Rhondorf as they were ready and had a high intensity and self confidence which helped them produce a 7-0 run and gain the 9-5 advantage. The home team got three baskets inside with two from Lithuanian Zygimantas Riauka and one from German Alex Moeller. Rhondorf made three consecutive stops as the ScanPlus Baskets were hurrying their sets and taking low percentage shots. Rhondorf kept the lead at 11-8 as Joe Koschade made a lay in. The Dragons Rhondorf were getting their work horse Riauka involved and many touches while Waller brought a lot of energy at both ends of the court. Then came an offensive spurt for both teams as Croatian Karlo Rozic dropped two trey´s while ex Telekom Baskets 2 player Philipp Gruber made a pretty spin move and lay in and three as the game was dead locked at 15-15. The ScanPlus Baskets would take the 20-19 lead with a Jere Vucica and Brian Butler lay in´s, but Dragons captain Joe Koschade kept the best for last nailing a buzzer beater three giving the Dragons Rhondorf a narrow 22-20 lead. “We played good defense, but they did a better job with the offensive rebounds”, stressed Kwam Waller. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 43% from the field and 14% from outside and had eight rebounds and one turnover while the ScanPlus Baskets shot 39% form the field and 27% from outside and had 14 rebounds and four turnovers.
The second quarter stayed tight for the first few minutes, but then the ScanPlus Baskets slowly started to get away as they were more consistent on offense and would get their lead to double digits. Hungarian point guard Stefan Fekete got the ScanPlus Baskets going early with a lay in, but ex Bremerhaven forward Bo Meister drilled home a trey for the 24-22 Rhondorf advantage. However the ScanPlus Baskets then demonstrated what their offense is capable of when it´s finally really on as they cruised out on a 15-5 run to extend their lead to 37-29. The 2018 Pro B champion spread the ball around and played stable inside out ball. 38 year old German Marin Petric had the hot hand as he drilled home a three as did Vucica who also scored on a put back. Fekete scored on a steal and coast to coast sprint and ex Leverkusen forward CJ Oldham scored in the paint. Rohndorf was bolstered by two David Falkenstein buckets on transition and on the penetration. Vucica was a real force in the run as he sparked his team with his intensity and buckets as well as defense as he served up a block and his club did a good job closing down Riauka. The ScanPlus Baskets kept the momentum and would go into half-time with the comfortable 46-38 lead. Along the way they got added input from Petric who dropped another trey and ex MBC center Kristian Kuhn used his typical aggressiveness in the paint and finished with authority twice while Oldham scored on the lay in. Waller remained aggressive and showed his leadership qualities hitting two big buckets and Moeller also scored. “They did a good job slowing down Riauka. They are a smart veteran team that stick to their principles and don´t sway from it”, warned Kwam Waller. The ScanPlus Baskets shot 42% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had 27 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 39% from the field and 8% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf fought back and cut the guests lead down to one point, but after three quarters trailed by five points. The Dragons Rhondorf came out of the locker room reborn and right away stuck it to the ScanPlus Baskets heightening their intensity on the defensive end getting five stops and eight points to trail only 47-46. In the run the Dragons got a bucket form Moeller and Waller free throws while Riauka was back from his second quarter drought getting two baskets. It looked like the Dragons Rhondorf had ripped back the momentum, but then out of no where it was 208cm 108 kilo giant Edin Alispahic who drilled a dagger into the heart of the Dragons connecting on three consecutive trey´s. That the big man can shoot the three is no surprise as he came into the game shooting 35% on 7/20 shooting and when is open will take it. The ScanPlus Baskets led 58-51 and would extend their lead to 60-51 after Vucica made an alley-op tap in off the Fekete feed. Moeller and Butler then traded buckets as Rhondorf still trailed 63-53. The Dragons Rhondorf then finished the third quarter strong on a 5-0 run as Bo Meister connected on a catch and pop jumper and little used 18 year ex kronberg(Regionalliga) forward Noah Litzbach hit a trey as the ScanPlus Baskets led only 63-58. “We didn´t come out well in the third and they quickly took advantage of it”, stressed Dennis Mavin. “We didn´t want to come out flat and let them set the tone. We had more intensity, but just couldn´t maintain it. When we start to strive for it the better we will get at handling it”, warned Kwam Waller. The ScanPlus Baskets Shot 40% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and had 37 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 36% from the field and 15% from the parking lot and had 37 rebounds and six turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the ScanPlus Baskets served up a quick 15-0 run deciding the game in the first few minutes. In the massive run the guests received six buckets in the paint from Butler(two baskets), Alispahic, Mavin, Petric and sweet Vucica alley op as the Dragons Rhondorf trailed 78-58. The Dragons Rhondorf seemed to have lost concentration and weren´t as fresh anymore as they had no resistance in their one on one defense. Petric remained on fire nailing two more trey´s extending the ScanPlus Baskets advantage to 84-62. “It is a blessing to have him on the team. He is a great player”, added Dennis Mavin. With the game decided and a few minutes to, both teams closed out the game executing well. Mavin drilled another trey and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and seven assists. In comparison to his explosive scoring last season where he averaged 18,0ppg in the Pro B with Giessen, he came into the game in Rhondorf averaging only 9,4ppg. His scoring isn´t a concern for him this season. “We have a great team and it´s not about me. For me it´s more important to do more for the team so that we can get better as a team and defend the title”, warned Dennis Mavin. In the last few minutes both teams emptied their benches as Rhondorf got support and points from NBBL player Marc Klesper and 34 year old little used Lotola Otshumbe and the ScanPkus Baskets gave 19 year old Jonas Sauer 6,55 minutes and he produced a bucket. “They are a young team and a bit tired at the end and we capitalized on it. We pushed the ball and got our momentum going again”, stressed Dennis Mavin. “They are a smart team and didn´t let the animal out of the cage. They kept the same focus and never panicked. That is what good teams do. They played the same way for 40 minutes and never allowed the close game to bother them”, stressed Kwam Waller. The ScanPlus Baskets were led by Marin Petric with 14 points. Edin Alispahic and Brian Butler added 12 points a piece and Dennis Mavin and Jere Vucica added 11 points apiece. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Zygimantas Riauka with 15 ppoints and 22 rebounds. Kwan Waller produced 13 points and Alex Moeller 11 points. The ScanPlus Baskets shot 44% from the field and 35% from outside and had 52 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 34% from the field and 19% from outside and got 43 rebounds and had 13 turnovers.