Even if two of the last three seasons were tough ones for the Dragons Rhondorf as they missed the playoffs twice and were sent down to the Regionalliga, one thing fans can´t complain about is having top players to swoon about on any given night. In the last three years the big dawg Aaron Nelson, “Mr Seton Hill not Seton Hall” Kameron Talyor and the “double double beast Zygimatas Riauka impressed fans every weekend not only at home, but also in other gym´s. This season the Dragons Rhondorf have carried on that great tradition for a fourth straight season reeling in the athletic Curtis Hollis who has not disappointed anyone with his game, but been that quiet leader the team missed a bit last season. He has shown that he can fill the stat sheet with ease like a Russel Westbrook and some have compared him to a Kameron Taylor. He has made the decision to start at the bottom in his quest to reach the highest level possible. Last weekend, he amassed an amazing triple double including 10 steals against Leverkusen 2 and with a performance like that makes it even more fun to come back to the Dragon Dome each weekend to see if he can achieve another one. This weekend he had his hands full as he had to lead the charge against the 4-1 Herford team that has their own amazing player with Derlyton Hill who came into the contest averaging an astounding 28,6ppg and 13,2 boards. The Dragons Rhondorf had a 3-2 record and wanted to extend their home winning streak to three games, but couldn´t as they weren´t mentally there playing poor defense for the most part of the game and despite a late fourth quarter comeback couldn´t get over the hump losing 97-91. Curtis Hollis didn´t achieve another triple double, but had another normal day at the office scoring 24 points and had some nice dunks and a massive block. After the third loss of the season, he was more than disappointed about the loss. “We weren´t focused 100% mentally today. We dug ourselves into a hole and couldn´t dig ourselves out. We didn´t get the job done on defense. We gave up too many back door baskets, gave up open shots, gave up rebounds and didn´t have good rotations”, stressed Texas native Curtis Hollis. After the big win a smiling, but somewhat worried Derylton Hill reflected on the victory that he only contributed to half-time as in the second quarter he watched from the bench as his teammates got the job masterfully done without him. “We played together as a team and hard on defense. We rebounded well as well and knocked down shots. I thought that even when the game was going back and forth in the first quarter that we had control of the game. I feel the difference of the game was that we could score the ball easier than they could. I´m really proud of my teammates how each guy stepped up in the second half in my absence”, stressed Florida native Derylton Hill.
Both teams didn´t waste anytime putting points on the board as both got busy quickly in the first quarter as they found their rhythm on offense easily. There were an impressive 12 lead changes in the first quarter. Even if both clubs combined for 7 three´s in the first quarter and half of the total shots were attempted from outside, it felt like both teams were preferring to get the easy buckets in the paint. BBG Herford were doing a good job spreading the scoring around, but one quickly realized that their offense revolved mostly around the quartet of Hill, Ole Wendt, Vaidotas Volkus and Omar Zemhoute. The Dragons Rhondorf also spread around the scoring well as Jure Besedic and Killian Binapfel led the scoring. Besedic was feeling it from outside while Binapfel had that non stop aggressiveness that helped the Dragons find their offensive rhythm faster. Even if the game was tight, the Dragons Rhondorf weren´t defending well as they were giving up way too many easy baskets and gave up three back door buckets. The Dragons Rhondorf let up and lost intensity in the last few minutes letting BBG Herford escape on a 12-3 run to lead 31-23 after 10 minutes. In the run, BBG Herford recieved clutch three´s from German Jan Benedikt Behrens and Ole Wendt. Hill showed his extreme versatility making a smooth no look pass to Wendt for a lay in. “Herford played very good team basketball. That was the reason why they had the lead. Rhondorf didn´t defend well”, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Brandon Frazier. BBG Herford shot 63% from the field and 57% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 3 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 56% from the field and 42% from outside and had 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
In the second quarter the inconsistent Rhondorf defense continued to be a thorn in their sides and they couldn´t make extra ground on the offensive end as they trailed 51-42 at the break. BBG Herford continued their offensive consistency going on a 6-2 run to start the second quarter to extend their lead to 37-25. In the run they got a key lay in from little used 24 year old German Rafael Fischer and a trey from Hill. Rhondorf continued to be a liability at both ends of the court. Not only did they continue to give up easy baskets inside, but weren´t covering the three point line. Hill was the ultimate work horse and was doing absolutely everything for his team to win. “He was the best player on the court. He looked like a man among boys. He was doing everything for his team. There was a big difference between him and everyone else on the court”, warned Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Brandon Frazier. After a Rhondorf time out, the Dragons struck with a three from Anish Sharda, but Hill struck back again with a three pointer to keep the BBG Herford lead at 40-29. Here and there the Dragons Rhondorf would be able to cut into the BBG Herford lead with Lotola Otshumbe or Gabriel De Olveira baskets, but they couldn´t keep up the defensive intensity as they would get baskets from a Wendt or Hill and hold the 46-35 advantage. Down the stretch the Dragons Rhondorf got some production from Curtis Hollins who made a massive dunk and runner, but BBG Herford countered with two Volkus baskets keeping their lead at 51-42. “Rhondorf is a very young team and were gambling a bit too much on defense while Herford played more together”, added Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Brandon Frazier. BBG Herford shot 54% from the field and 37% from the three point line and had 18 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 48% from the field and 40% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter BBG Herford continued to play their game finding simple ways to execute and lead by as much as 17 points. The Dragons Rhondorf went on a little run in the latter half of the third quarter to cut the lead down to 7 points, but still trailed by 9 points after 30 minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf began well getting a hook shot from Mark Kotieno, but then continued not being able to execute on the defensive end giving up a 10-0 run to trail the guests 61-44. In the run, BBG Herford displayed their fine inside out game as Volkus nailed a trey and Wendt and Zemhoute scored easily on the penetration. Hill had collided with De Olveira in the first minutes of the third quarter and would never return. BBG Herford showed that they could continue to execute on offense without Hill and did displaying nice team basketball while Rhondorf´continued to have difficulty getting stops as their rotations were off. The Dragons Rhondorf definitely had their moments in this game. Basketball is a game of runs and now it was the Dragons turn to fight back as they went on a 12 -2 run to cut the BBG Herford lead to 63-56. In the run, they got 5 points from Hollis who continued to show how simple he makes the game look with his suave movements and precision shooting. Sharda also dropped a trey, De Olveira scored in the paint and Jeffrey Martin hit a mid distance jumper. Rhondorf profited from having that big body of Hill not on the floor. De Olveira was very aggressive and understood how to use his body to his advantage. Despite the Dragons being closer, BBG Herford got their outside shooting going again as Zemhoute and Behrens connected to give BBG Herford the 71-58 advantage. In the last minute, the Dragons Rhondorf got another trey from Sharda and Hollis remained aggressive getting an offensive rebound and put back and hit a jumper, but BBG Herford still led comfortable 74-65 after three quarters. “We got big three´s from Behrens and Wendt. We shared the ball well and played good defense”, added Derylton Hill. “We were up and down and it was tough bouncing around. They hit big shots at the end after our run”, stressed Curtis Hollis. BBG Herford shot 57% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 53% from the field and 46% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter BBG Herford continued to control the game and it looked like they would cruise to victory, but the Dragons Rhondorf never gave up and made one more run to cut the guests lead down to two points, but in the end couldn´t get totally over the hump. The Dragons Rhondorf were unable to get off to a good start in the fourth quarter as they relinquished a 8-0 run to trail 82-65. BBG Herford continued to pour it on without Derylton Hill as Volkus contributed 6 points and Zemhoute made two free throws. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to fight and chip away at the guests lead as Besedic hit a trey and De Olveira scored three times in the paint showing that he can be a force cutting BBG Herford´s lead to 86-75. Zemhoute then hit a trey giving BBG Herford the very comfortable 89-75 advantage. The Dragons Rhondorf still had energy left in their tank and gave it all they had going on a 14-2 run to amazingly cut the guests lead down to 91-89 with a minute to play. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf played their best basketball of the game executing on Besedic who sunk a trey, Hollins scored in the paint, Sharda made free throws and Binapfel connected for two baskets. “We defended better allowing only one shot and rebounded better. We also got on transition and to the free throw line”, added Curtis Hollis. “We missed too many shots and they attacked, got the and ones and made free throws”, added Derylton Hill. On the next BBG Herford possession, they played very smart getting Volkus the ball inside via the lob pass something they had perfected all day, as his big body and length secured two easy points for the 93-89 lead. On the next play Rhondorf was stopped which led to Wendt free throws securing the win for BBG Herford. “We knew all we needed was one stop. So we knew that was all we needed to win the game. We got that stop and Wendt then knocked down free throws to get the win”, added Derylton Hill. “The play was designed for me on the high ball screen. I was double teamed and tried to draw the foul I got the ball back and found Binapfel. He might have rushed a bit and turned the ball over. He is still young. I am sure that sort of thing will never happen to him again. If we want to be a top team, we have to close out games better”, stressed Curtis Hollis. BBG Herford was led by Vaidotas Volkus with 26 points. Ole Wendt added 21 points and Omar Zemhoute added 19 points and 10 assists while the Dragons Rhondorf were led by Curtis Hollis with 24 points. Gabriel De Olveira contributed 18 points and Killian Binapfel had 14 points. Jure Besedic had 13 points and Anish Sharda 12 points. BBG Herford shot 51% from the field and 44% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 18 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 52% from the field and 38% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 20 turnovers.