The Dragons Rhondorf have demonstrated all season long that they can score at a high rate averaging 95 points per game, but in the first game on the road against Ibbenbueren they were met with a tough notch defense where they could only muster 68 points which was their lowest point total of the season so far. Plus the Dragons Rhondorf also lost the rebound battle and Ibbenbueren also did a good job taking care of the ball as top player Bryce Leavitt did a great job holding the reins and leading the team to success. 2020 started out with a bang for the Dragons Rhondorf as they won the season series against Leverkusen 2 on the road led by Curtis Hollis´s 25 points, and Killian Binapfl´s strong return after having a couple tough games at the end of 2019. The Leverkusen game also marked the return of big man Gabriel De Olveria who had been out of action for a few months. Ibbenbueren also wanted to get back on track with a win after their shocking 79-45 loss to the RheinStars Cologne. The game also marked a real interesting duel between both teams best players Curtis Hollis and Bryce Leavitt who both had achieved triple doubles this season. The Dragons Rhondorf had a fast lead right from and would never look back controlling the contest for 40 minutes pounding Ibbenburen 102-84. The Dragons as usual were a treat to watch on offense, but also on defense, they showed new steps in improvement and got a huge game as usual from Curtis Hollis, but also big games from Anish Sharda who did a bit of everything with big three´s, perfect passes for assists, a quarter buzzer beater and solid defense. After the second win in a row, Texas native Curtis Hollis was pleased by the team effort. “We had a really good first quarter, but after that our energy and intensity went down, but we got the win. We played good on offense and moved the ball well. We changed up some things on defense with icing on the ball screen as well as having better help side defense”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Washington native and Ibbenburen guard Bryce Leavitt was disappointed after the loss in that his team was unable to put important components together during the course of the game for success. “Rhondorf came out with a lot of intensity and really took it to us. We took too long to respond to their intensity. They are a top team that was playing at home. They just wanted it a little more than we did. They played well. They play a lot faster now with the new coach. In the first game we had more intensity, were more physical and set the tone. In this game, it was the complete opposite. We didn´t play a complete game”, warned Bryce Leavitt.
The Dragons Rhondorf raced out to a fast 12-0 lead as Dragons fans seemed a bit shocked, but at the same time totally content with the good fortune of the team. The club shared the ball really well right from the start as Slovenian big man Jere Besedic nailed a hook shot, Curtis Hollis unleashed a massive two handed dunk coming from the wing, Gabriel De Olveira made a tap in on the offensive glass, young German Simonas Lukosius hit a trey and Hollis made a left handed lay in. Rhondorf played smart disciplined defense not allowing any good looks getting 6 stops. Ibbenburen finally got on the board at the 6,05 minute make as ex Artland Dragon Benjamin Fumey connected on a trey. Rhondorf was playing excellent team basketball selecting the extra pass a lot and got out on transition. Rhondorf continued to excel on offense as Hollis was displaying his magnificent mid range game while Ibbenburen was slowly finding their rhythm as Bryce Leavitt showed his nice passing skills with a no look pass to Fumey and then drilled home a trey to cut the Rhondorf lead to 18-8. Even if Ibbenburen was finding their game, they had no intensity or consistency on defense allowing a 15-4 Dragons run to close out the first quarter 33-12 in very spectacular fashion. Dragons head coach Yassin Idbihi did a good job using his bench and they stepped up. Guys like Mark Kotieno and Jeffrey Martin executed, but the big story was 37 year old Anish Sharda who´s shooting would be spot on. He hit a deep tree for the 26-12 lead, but he saved his best for last hitting an amazing half court buzzer beater to close out the first quarter. “The break was good for the team Yassin Idbihi changed up some things on the defensive end. The pick and roll defense was better. You could see that when they defense well, then the offense comes from itself. When Sharda put up that last shot it looked good. I got up early from my chair. You always hope that those last second shots will fall. It was good for the fans”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alex Dohms. “We know that this was a big game. We played with intensity and together. We got steals and easy baskets on transition”, stressed Curtis Hollis. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 76% from the field and 60% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 3 turnovers while the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen shot 23% from the field and 28% from outside and had 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter, Ibbenburen had a good start, but the Dragons Rhondorf quickly found back to their offensive execution and would lead by 24 points at the break. After giving up only 68 points to the Dragon Rhondorf, they were more than embarrassed to have given up 33 points after only 10 minutes wanted to come out with fire in the second quarter and did going on a 10-2 run to trail the Dragons only 35-22. The guests got free throws from German Marcello Schroeder, another trey from Fumey, a lay in from Spaniard Albert Del Hoyo and a trey. Rhondorf had lost their offensive rhythm while Ibbenburen played more calmer looking for the right shot. But that lightening Ibbenburen run didn´t impress Rhondorf as they recovered with a harsh 8-0 run to up their lead up to 43-23. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf showed some amazing plays ex FC Bayern Munich forward Killian Binapfl hit free throws, Hollis made a lay up on transition after getting a perfect touch down pass from Sharda and De Olveira made an alley op dunk getting the perfect pass from Hollis. The passing seemed like it came from another world and one could have thought that maybe Larry Bird had been flown in during the week for some extra passing tips. There was no Larry Bird, but just more guts from the players to make plays. “We have many good passers on the team. When you are playing well, then you tend to have the confidence to risk more difficult passes and it worked for us”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alexander Dohms. From this point on both team´s offenses functioned well, but that didn´t help Ibbenburen as they couldn´t make any ground in their comeback. The Dragons continued to share the ball the way a top team should as Lukosius hit another trey, Sharda hit from downtown and Besedic scored inside getting the perfect back door pass from Hollis. Ibbenburen got huge production from ex Florida International(NCAA) guard Marco Porcher Jimenez who took total responsibility hitting three buckets in a row, but still no ground was made as Rhondorf led 52-32. “What I appreciate most about Marco is that we compliment each other well. He is good off the ball while I´m good on ball. He is one of the best efficient scorers in the league. He takes a lot of pressure of me”, warned Bryce Leavitt. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to put on the pressure closing out the first half with a 12-6 run to lead 64-40 at the break. De Olveira dominated with 8 points showing his good inside out game with a rare trey and was aggressive on the offensive boards. Hollis also let his athleticism take control scoring two buckets. “We continued to step up while Ibbenburen couldn´t do much against us. Our transition and attacking worked well, but the best part was our defense”,added Alex Dohms. “We took care of what we had to. We had some mistakes, but played together as a team”, stressed Curtis Hollis. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 64% from the field and 46% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 7 turnovers while Ibbenburen shot 37% from the field and 41% from the three point line and had 13 rebounds and 9 turnovers.
The scoring went down in the third quarter and despite a quick start by Ibbenburen, the Dragons Rhondorf calmed down and closed out the third quarter well. Hollis began the second half with a lay in, but Ibbenburen struck back with a lethal 8-0 run to cut Rhondorf´s lead to 66-48. In the run, Ibbenburen got 5 points from Albert Del Hoyo and a trey from Italian Juan Manurl Barga. Basketball is a game of runs and Rhondorf retaliated with a quick 6-0 run as the two big man De Olveira and Kotieno scored and Hollis made a step back. The two German big man combined for 26 points and 13 rebounds and are a real force in the Regionalliga. “They even each other out. De Olveira is aggressive and mobile while Kotieno is skilled and smart. They both have different games, but compliment each other well”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Ibbenburen got some clutch buckets down the stretch from Leavitt and Fumey, but the Dragons Rhondorf just wouldn´t let down on offense continuing to share the ball and just have fun playing together. Hollis continued to destroy the opponent with his mid range game, Sharda dropped another trey and Kotieno scored again inside as the Dragonds Rhondorf led 81-63. “We didn´t lose control and kept the intensity up with stops and baskets on transition”, added Curtis Hollis. “We had a hard time putting it all together. First we were out of position and gave up lanes, then we helped better, but gave up three´s and then we didn´t rebound. We couldn´t put it all together. That killed us”, stressed Bryce Leavitt. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 60% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 12 turnovers and Ibbenburen shot 39% from the field and 35% from the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 14 turnovers.
The fourth quarter turned out 21-21 as Ibbenburen couldn´t find a rhythm on defense and get over the hump as the Dragons Rhondorf were able to finish the game strong with their seventh game of the season with over 100 points. Both teams got some added input from players from their benches who hadn´t played yet as Germans David Falkenstein and Tim Kosel got on the score board with buckets. Porcher Jimenez also got into scoring mode again with a trey while Hollis continued to be aggressive making a two handed dunk and a lay in on the trick inbounds pass from Sharda as they caught Ibbenburen napping on defense. Sharda hit another three pointer for the 95-71 advantage. With only a few minutes to play the only question any fan had in the arena was who would get the 100th point for the Dragons. Ibenburen snuck in a 6-0 run as Leavit scored twice and Porcher Jimenez made an offensive rebound and put back to cut Rhondorf´s lead to 95-77. Sharda drilled home another trey for the 98-77 advantage. Porcher Jimenez wasn´t done yet as he took his team on a 7-1 run scoring three baskets to cut the Rhondorf lead to 99-84. With time running out the Dragons Rhondorf eclipsed the 100 points on their last play as who better than Anish Sharda to hit a trey to seal the win. “We finished the game well. We weathered the storm and played defense. Sharda was big. We work out 1-1 2-3 times a week. He has taken me under his wing and helped my game a lot”, warned Anish Sharda. “We ran out of gas making dumb turnovers. We missed rebounds and it was the little things that we couldn´t do that good teams make”, added Bryce Leavitt. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Curtis Hollis with 29 points. Anish Sharda added 21 points and Gabriel de Olveira produced 18 points while Ibbenburen was led by Marco Porcher Jimenez with 25 points. Benjamin Fumey added 17 points and Bryce Leavitt 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 54% from the field and 45% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Ibbenburen shot 43% from the field and 30% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 19 turnovers.