It continues to be a massive delight to enter the Dragon Dome in Bad Honnef and see the Rhondorf Dragons playing super basketball and winning. Especially now it is extra fun to watch the ex Pro A team, because they haven´t lost in a long time. They have won their last six games in a row and last weekend upset number one team Rheinstars 86-83 and were in the ultimate basketball heaven realizing that the team had talent and could beat anyone in the league despite their up and down start at 3-3. The club continues to score at a very comfortable rate averaging 93 points per game and have eclipsed the 100 point mark in 4 of the last six games. Their defense continues to be a work in progress, but had made steps forward in the last weeks. The third place team Dragons Rhondorf met 8th placed team BG Dorsten who they had never battled against as they sat in eighth place. They had started the season strong winning 3 of their first 4 games, but since then struggled losing 5 of their last 8 games and 3 of their last 4 games. Last weekend they lost a heartbreaker in the derby clash against BV Wulfen 77-74. They averaged 80 points on offense coming into the game and allowed 81 points per game. Both teams best players Curtis Hollis and Adam Picket continued to be on a tear and met for the first time in their professional careers and the Texas native won round one as the Dragons Rhondorf overcame a weak first quarter and poured home 85 points in the last three quarters to destroy BG Dorsten 104-76. It was the tenth win of the season for the Dragons and their seventh in a row. Their offense continues to be on fire as the give sharing the ball a new meaning while their defense is still a work in progress, their potent offense continues to hide their inconsistent defense. “We were lazy in the first quarter, but after that we picked it up. We played good team basketball sharing the ball and making the extra pass. Our rotations have to get better. We have to be better positioned on the help side. But I still feel our defense is getting better each game”, warned Dragons Rhondorf American Curtis Hollis. BG Dorsten fell to 6-7 and their top scorer American Adam Picket who entered the game averaging 26,0ppg didn´t hesitate to give his input to the Rhondorf lashing. “We have been practicing transition defense, but we did it well tonight only in spurts. We had too many stupid turnovers. We have to cut down on them. We got good shots and got to the free throw line, but our transition defense and turnovers hurt us. We didn´t hustle enough on defense”, added ex Winthrop guard Adam Pickett .”We continue to stay humble despite the 7 game winning streak. We want to keep working and building each day. We know that we are a talented team and have been getting rewarded in games. We still have a lot to correct, but it will only get better”,warned Curtis Hollis.
BG Dorsten got off to a quick start leading 7-2. Adam Pickett began the game showing rapidly what would give Rhondorf headaches all night long as he penetrated to then hoop with authority as nobody could match his quickness. Jan Peters who once struck Dortmund with 31 points and 9 three´s dropped a trey and ex Rhondorf NBBL player Nainoa Schmidt scored a lay in getting a pretty back door pass from German Wilhelm Koehler. This fast start didn´t intimate the Dragons Rhondorf as they finally got their offense going getting three scores from Hollis, ex FC Bayern Munich Pro B player Killian Binapfl and Slovenian big man Jure Besedic to cut the lead to 9-8. Rhondorf would dead lock the game twice 12-12 and 14-14 thanks to the physical inside play of Besedic who scored twice. The Slovenian likes the pick and pop, but stayed aggressive and did damage inside the paint. BG Dorsten did most of their damage on the penetration as Rhondorf didn´t defend well 1-1. BG Dorsten continued to put on pressure as Adam Pickett did a superb job drawing the defense on him and letting the three point shooters be open as young German Jan Peters dropped two treys. Schmidt also scored again while the Dragons Rhondorf stayed in the game getting production from Mark Kotieno and Curtis Hollis with a dunk on transition, but BG Dorsten led 23-19. “We didn´t have the intensity and mentality. We gave up to many offensive rebounds. Besedic played strong keeping us in the game”, added Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alexander Dohms. BG Dorsten shot 42% from the field and 37% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 0 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 56% form the field and 0% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 2 turnovers.
In the second quarter came the turning point of the game where the Dragons Rhondorf took the lead and were able to build a comfortable lead and would never look back. After hitting no three´s in the first quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf came alive in the second dropping three. 37 year Spaniard Enrico Garrido Foz hit two in a row at the start tying the game at 25-25. BG Dorsten was able to grab back the lead one more time as Nderim Pelaj scored as did Peters for the 29-26 advantage. But then came the turning point of the contest as the Dragons Rhondorf rattled off a lethal 13-0 run to take the 39-29 lead and they would never look back. In the run, the former Pro B team got production from and the most damage from 37 year old Anish Sharda who scored 6 points while Curtis Hollis chipped in with 5 points scoring twice on the fast break. The Dragons Rhondorf stepped up their intensity on defense which BG Dorsten couldn´t come to terms with, finally started nailing three´s and allowed their aggressive defense lead to easy transition buckets on offense. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t let up and kept the momentum and offensive consistency until the break. Rhondorf continued to get out on transition and got two more baskets from Hollis and Kotieno continued to score with ease in the paint. BG Dorsten had one ace in their deck with Adam Pickett who scored whenever he wanted in the paint while from outside he had no luck as he was 0/5 at the break. The Dragons Rhondorf had the comfortable 50-36 lead at the break. “You could see how valuable Enric Garrido Foz was as he came in and instantly improved our game. We had intensity on defense which led to easy fast break points”, commented Alexander Dohms. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 52% from the field and 27% from the three point line and had 27 rebounds and 7 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 37% from the field and 26% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf kept up the pressure and were able to extend their lead to 21 points. BG Dorsten had the better start catching the Dragons Rhondorf on the wrong foot and going on a rapid 5-0 run to cut down the Rhondorf lead to 50-41. 31 year old German Wilhelm Koehler who entered the season with 133 Regionalliga games on his resume scored a 15 footer after 6 seconds and made an offensive rebound and put back. Sharda put a short dagger into the BG Dorsten run with a trey extending the Dragons lead to 53-41, but BG Dorsten still had energy despite the comeback effort and rolled out on a 9-2 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 55-50. Picket who played 120 NCAA games at Winthrop was a one man wrecking crew with his penetration scored 7 points while Peters scored on transition to cut the Rhondorf lead to 55-50. “Every USA guard that we play give their best. He was quick and could finish at ease. Yassin told me to cover him and I was able to slow him down a bit. We did what we could throwing a couple of bodies at him”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Pickett finished with 27 points, but wasn´t overall satisfied with his play as a playmaker since they didn´t win. “For me it´s important to score and find my teammates. Scoring 27 points doesn´t mean much when I don´t get my teammates involved and we don´t win. I need to be able to find a balance between scoring and finding my teammates and wining games”, stressed Adam Pickett. Despite cutting the Rhondorf lead down to 5 points, the home team then totally dominated ending the third quarter with massive 20-4 run to lead 75-54. In the run, it was the Beseidc show as he scored 12 points including two treys and Simonas Lukosius also gave his fine shooting touch scoring 9 points including back to back three´s. “Yassin ran a lot of plays with Besedic. When Besedic is playing hard, it opens up shots for others”, commented Curtis Hollis. “Besedic killed us inside. They were doing early post ups where he had to do no work except take the quick turnaround shot”, added Adam Pickett. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 53% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 36 rebounds and 13 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 39% from the field and 25% form the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 12 turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf continued to be aggressive and execute on offense in the fourth quarter and extend their lead to as high as 30 points while BG Dorsten lost more intensity on the defensive end. Kotieno got the Dragons Rhondorf going with a basket for the 77-54 lead. Then came the big moment for German Sven Morlock who had 5 Pro B games experience had played 5,24 minutes in the game and brought a 28% from outside into the game rattled off back to back three´s to cut the Dragons lead to 77-60. Both teams took a rest from defense and both teams executed at a fine rate on offense, but that didn´t help BG Dorsten´s come back attempt. BG Dorsten starting point guard Pelaj had been quiet for the first 30 minutes scoring only 5 points, but now in the fourth quarter scored 5 points while Rhondorf received buckets from Foz and Kotieno as BG Dorsten trailed 84-67. Even if didn´t seem like BG Dorsten could get over the hump and challenge the Dragons, the home team didn´t want to risk anything and completely slammed the door shut on the guests with a ruthless 13-0 run to extend their lead to 97-67. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf got production from Hollis and Jonas Falkenstein who hit consecutive three´s while Kotieno and little used German Lotola Otshumbe scored baskets. BG Dorsten had lost intensity and energy on defense while the Dragons Rhondorf continued to share the ball and play fine team ball. The only thing that interested Dragon fans now was if they would hit the golden 100 mark again. They did as Lukosius hit a jumper and had to buy donuts for the team for the second time this season. It was another normal day at the office for the Dragons Rhondorf as they eclipsed the 100 point mark for the fifth time in the 7 game winning streak. “We kept pouring it on. It is hard to contain us with so many pieces”, added Curtis Hollis. “We lost intensity on defense. You need to fight for the complete 40 minutes. We didn´t compete enough. You play with pride and need to compete at all times”, warned Adam Pickett. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Curtis Hollis with 23points and 11 rebounds. Jure Besedic added 22 points and Simonas Lukosius had 13 points. Anish Sharda and Mark Kotieno added 10 points a piece. BG Dorsten was led by Adam Pickett with 27 points while Jonas Peters added 15 points. shot 55% from the field and 41% from outside and had 49 rebounds and 17 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 39% from the field and 26% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 16 turnovers.