Last weekend when the Dragons Rhondorf needed it badly, they came up big with their biggest win of the season keeping their Pro B chances alive. A big problem this season for the ex Pro A team has been their inability to get the much needed production from their German role players. Two weeks ago, the club stunk up the gym in Cologne as they got only 9 points from their role players. Last weekend, it was a totally different story against tg s.Oliver Wurzburg as they got another very consistent effort from their two best players Riauka and Waller combining for 51 points, but also got sufficient help from their German role players as they notched 47 points and Bo Meister was reborn with a career high 21 points. The Dragons Rhondorf definitely needed this type of consistent performance again against BBC Coburg in their third playdown game. This season both clubs split the season series and the Dragons Rhondorf won the home encounter against the Bavarian organization 86-78 getting a healthy portion of points from Riauka and Waller combining for 42 points and German Yannick Kneesch stepped up with 16 points. Rhondorf also had a strong hold on the boards. The Dragons Rhondorf wanted to keep their winning streak alive and halt BBC Coburgs´s two game winning streak and did registering their first two game winning streak of the season stifling BBC Coburg in all the right moments with their zone 84-71. After the win, Lithuanian double double beast Zygimantas Riauka gave giving autographs a new dimension as a hord of little kids were waiting for him and he made himself comfortable laying on his stomach and signing all the jerseys. As the kids had all been happy with the autographs the big man reflected on the victory. “We all played together and contributed well. I didn´t play well in the first half, but others stepped up. Our zone was key as they didn´t hit their three´s. The last time we played them they shot lights out. It was important also that they had a short rotation”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf big man Zygimantas Riauka. BBC Coburg had no pressure as they had been saved in the playdowns early and will compete in the Pro B next season. After the loss a disappointed Chase Adams described why his team was unable to pull out the win. “We had a slim rotation and we really missed Chris Wolf. We missed a lot of shots and didn´t control the boards. We were rusty and didn´t attack. When they play zone we digress and didn´t get the best shots. We were unable to respond to their runs”, warned ex Uni Basket guard Chase Adams. The Dragons Rhondorf are a changed team from some weeks ago. “All know their roles now. We needed to have our backs to the wall to finally start playing. Everybody has stepped up especially the German players”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.
The first quarter was a real old fashioned slug fest as fans witnessed eight lead changes as no team could escape from the other. Waller scored early, but he would only add seven points on the evening on a dismal 2/11 shooting, but it didn´t matter since the German role players were able to come through again like last week. Last week the German role players scored combined 47 points and against BBC Coburg it was even better with 55 points. Riauka did score 7 points in the first quarter, but his four turnovers hurt. He did step it up getting three blocks in the first minutes. BBC Coburg went inside a lot to ex Dresden center Max Von Der Wippel. Ex Phoenix Hagen forward Julian Jasinski was back after missing last weeks game and nailed a trey for the 12-11 advantage. But BBC Coburg pounced on the miserable ball handling of the Dragons Rhondorf and forced turnovers and got baskets from French guard Kevin Franceschi and Von Der Wippel for the 19-15 advantage. Rhondorf had little intensity on defense and always allowed easy scores. Franceschi was hot and consistent and scored four more points in the last minute. But Rhondorf got some key buckets from David Falkenstein and Julian Jasinski to trail only 23-19. “Both teams battled in the first quarter. Everybody was sacrificing for the other. Even if you didn´t score, everybody did what was best for the team”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. BBC Coburg shot 44% from the field and 50% from outside and had eight rebounds and four turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 44% form the field and 20% from outside and got 11 rebounds and had 6 turnovers.
The second quarter also remained tight, but the Dragons Rhondorf found some daylight and were able to capture the slim and lead and hold it until halftime. The Dragons Rhondorf finally upped their defensive intensity and pulled out a zone which paid dividends. The Dragons Rhondorf stopped BBC Coburg on their first seven possessions and were able to execute on offense going on a vital 12-0 run to extend their lead to 31-23. In the Dragons run, they got all their points from their German players. Big man Alex Moeller was like reborn as he scored six points in a row as he made an offensive rebound and put back, scored on transition and got the perfect lob pass from 36 year old guard Anish Sharda. Moeller would finish with 19 points and was this games Bo Meister who gave the team that German spark last weekend against Wurzburg. Moeller was 9/10 from the field and Riauka had a hard time refraining for the Moeller compliments. “He is such a hard worker. He is young and it doesn´t always translate to the game, but tonight he had a fantastic game. He is a work horse in practice and often kicks my butt. I am glad his hard work is paying off now”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. Rhondorf also got a transition basket from ex Telekom Baskets Bonn 2 guard David Falkenstein and a step back shot from captain Joe Koschahde. Rhondorf was playing unselfish team basketball and was getting out on transition. BBC Coburg finally got their first field goal at the 4,56 minute mark as Franceschi connected for two points. BBC Coburg started to come back getting to the free throw line, but captain Joe Koschade stepped it up a notch scoring seven points and keeping Rhondorf on top. Ex Gotha guard Dino Dizdarevic hit a three at the end as Chase Adams made the kick out pass staying on Rhondorf´s tail trailing only 41-37 at the break. “We did a good job going to zone and getting many stops. We executed on offense and were all locked in. The secret to our zone was that they missed”, smiled Zygimantas Riauka. The Dragons Rhondorf shotb 51% form the field and 22% from the three point line and had 23 rebounds and 7 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 36% from the field and 30% from the three point line and had 15 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf kept the lead in the third quarter never leading by more than six points as they couldn´t shake BBC Coburg. In the first few minutes each team´s big man were battling and getting baskets in the paint as Von Der Wippel and Riauka scored twice as the Dragons Rhondorf had the slim 45-43 advantage. After a long time BBC Coburg would get the lead back on a Adams pull up jumper 47-46, but that wouldn´t last for long. The Dragons Rhondorf had a deeper rotation which featured better rested players and production resting on many shoulders. Rhondorf went on a quick 8-2 run to extend their lead to 55-49. Riauka made one of many offensive rebounds and put backs and then made a great play on the next possession. Riauka has listed his outlet pass as a hidden strength despite showing it on so many occasions this season. After a BBC Coburg miss he grabbed the rebound and turned around quickly making a football bomb touchdown pass to Bo Meister as a Brady to Edelman connection wouldn´t have looked better. ”I love the outlet pass. I always look up after the rebound like Jocic. I love his game and want to play like him”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. Jasinski also dropped a trey in the run. Despite a Von der Wippel lay in, Rhondorf continued to get good support from Meister who hit a three and Riauka made free throws for the 60-52 lead. However the Dragons Rhondorf closed out the third quarter in ugly fashion. They allowed an unwanted 6-0 run in a matter of 30-40 seconds and Rhondorf coughed up the ball twice which led to two baskets from Franceschi and one from Adams as Rhondorf´s lead shrunk to 60-58. “We had bad turnovers at the end and was pushing to much wanting to make the home run play instead of slowing down the play. Despite being up only two points, we were there mentally and wanted to win”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. “We wanted to put up a good fight, because we wanted to show everyone that we didn´t belong in the playdowns. We fought back and came back at the end”, added Chase Adams. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 44% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and got 39 rebounds and had 12 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 38% form the field and 21% from the parking lot and got 24 rebounds and had 8 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Dragons Rhondorf had another super start as their zone continued to annoy BBC Coburg not letting them find a rhythm. BBC Coburg was stopped on their first six possessions rushing their offense too much while the Dragons Rhondorf were able to take advantage of that getting six points and extending their lead to 66-58. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf got a steal and coast to coast sprint from the 36 year old fountain of youth Anish Sharda, Alex Moeller hit a 20 footer and Riauka made another offensive rebound and put back. BBC Coburg finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with their first field goal at the 6,40 minute mark as Adams connected on a pull up jumper to cut Rhondorf´s lead to 66-60. Rhondorf had the momentum after that quick start and then made the next attack on BBC Coburg going on a 9-2 run to lead 75-62. In the run, Alex Moeller continued to be a force scoring five points, Falkenstein scored inside and Riauka made another offensive rebound and put back. Despite having a seven man rotation, BBC Coburg had some energy left for a small 5-2 run to cut Rhondorf´s lead to 75-67 as BBC Coburg got to the free throw line. With time running down the Dragons Rhondorf could keep the healthy lead as Alex Moeller never let up, but played hard until the end scoring too more buckets and Waller also scored. “Our zone continued to be great as they struggled and we continued to get good looks”, warned Zygiantas Riauka. “When Von Der Wippel. fouled out, it messed us up as we had to go small. We didn´t have enough big guys to compete on the boards”, stressed Chase Adams. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Zygimantas Riauka with 22 points and 27 boards and Alex Moeller added 19 points while BBC Coburg was led by Kevin Franceschi with 22 points. Chase Adams added 13 points and 10 assists while Max Von Der Wippel had 12 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 47% form the field and 19% from outside and hauled down 53 rebounds and had 15 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 38% from the field and 14% form outside and hauled down 31 rebounds and had 11 turnovers.