With the carneval season over in Dragon country where the club had a little break, it was time again for basketball. The regular season is slowly winding down as the top aspiring playoff teams are jockeying for the best playoff positions. The Dragons Rhondorf have been playing solid basketball in the last weeks having won three of the last four games, but suffered a disappointing 108-94 loss at the hands of BG Hagen a little more than two weeks. ago. The defense continues to be the clubs big weakness as they have been unable to find any kind of consistency. They now had a golden opportunity to work on their defensive game with the arrival of the weak ETB Wohnbau Miners Essen who came into the game with a pathetic 1-22 record and had accumulated a horrible 17game losing streak this season. The club allows way to many points with 91, and can´t muster much offense averaging only 72 points per game. In the first game, the Dragons Rhondorf won on the road 111-85, but had big problems on defense again allowing way too many points and surprisingly lost the rebound battle 42-29, but did a better job forcing the Miners to 22 turnovers. In the return date in the Dragon Dome, the Dragons Rhondorf saw the same 5 starting ETB Wohnbau Miners for 40 minutes as that was all that was present. Ex Pro A team ETB Wohnbau Baskets Miners had serious injuries woes as Radwan Bakkali and Giorgas Moukas were out and Chris Alexander also wasn´t present with rumors swirling that he had returned back to the States early. The Dragons Rhondorf had to deal with 40 less points from these three players and were able to destroy the ETB Wohnbau Miners 102-63. But how does one really rate a 39 point win when the guests didn´t have one rest the whole game playing 40 minutes? The Dragons Rhondorf had good moments and also bad moments as mental lapses accompanied them all game long. After the 16th win of the season 36 year old Anish Sharda reflected on the good and bad of the victory. “I never thought of them having only 5 players. I really wanted the challenge of playing against Chris Alexander and Radwin Bakkali. We didn´t come out with the right energy. We forced a lot and we still aren´t where we want to be on defense”, warned ex TV Langen guard Anish Sharda. Radwin Bakkali didn´t play, but had a good seat on the bench to witness the loss, but in the end was very proud of how the team fought. “I remember seeing a game in the NCAA where a fight broke out and the bench of Alabama was ejected. They only had 4 more players in the last 5 minutes. Rhondorf had a deep roster, but our 5 guys gave their all. The difference today was the depth of Rhondorf. At times they looked like the San Antonio Spurs with all the passing they did. They are well coached. We ran out of gas in the second quarter”, stressed ex Jacksonville(NCAA) center Radwin Bakkali.
At the start it was 5-5 with 10 fresh legs, but it was the underdog and guests ETB Wohnbau Miners that came out stronger and executed better on offense taking a rapid 8-2 advantage. In the first minutes, the fact that the guests only had 5 players for 40 minutes didn´t overwhelm them as they shared the ball nicely. 17 year old Luca Michels got the club going with a trey which was followed by a lay in by 29 year old Michael Agyapong and a lay in from 23 year old German/Nigerian Simon Obi who didn´t begin to play basketball until he was 18.The ETB Wohnbau Miners caught the Dragons Rhondorf still in bed and managed an OK zone, but the Dragons couldn´t hit open shots. After a time out the Dragons Rhondorf started to bang the ball inside and were rewarded with an agonizing 14-2 run to take the 16-10 lead. Ex Iserlohn center Gabriel de Olveira got aggressive inside and scored 4 buckets while New Jersey native Diijon Allen-Jordan used his athleticism inside to produce 2 baskets. The Dragons not only destroyed Essen inside, but also got their transition game going. The Dragons Rhondorf were finally awake and had a strong offensive rhythm. The Dragons Rhondorf got more aggressive on defense and strong defense led to successful offense. Even if the Dragons made the turnaround, they were too soft in the paint and allowed Michael Agyapong be a one man wrecking crew in the paint. Most of their baskets were in the paint area, but Slovenian center Jure Besedic nailed a trey in the last minutes while Marek Kotoneo scored twice in the paint giving the Dragons Rhondorf the comfortable 23-13 lead after 10 minutes. “We weren´t locked in on defense at the start. We got going when I got in and we pushed the ball more. A big problem that we have is that we want to much sometimes instead of locking in and doing it step by step”, warned Anish Sharda. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 43% form the field and 11% from outside and had 14 rebounds and 2 turnovers while the ETB Wohnbau Miners shot 23% from the field and 12% from outside and had 15 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf kept the double digit lead in the second quarter, but the ETB Wohnbau Miners stayed with them and continued to hang around. The ETB Wohnbau Miners had another strong start like they had in the first quarter going on a 7-3 run to cut the Dragons lead to 26-20. German Luca Michels continued to be the go to guy contributing 5 points displaying his fine inside out play with a sweet trey and pretty left handed lay in and German Jonathan Broer hit a jumper. But that second quick start didn´t faze the Dragons Rhondorf as they slapped the ETB Wohnbau Miners back with a 11-2 run to extend their lead to 37-22. They got some instant energy from Diijon Allen-Jordan as he made a hard dunk on transition and a lay in while they also got baskets from Kotineo, a trey from Sharda and a floater from Besedic. The Dragons Rhondorf controlled the game, but weren´t consistent still making too many unneeded mistakes. Rhondorf weren´t playing with high intensity, but were getting easy baskets inside while Essen had a lot of fortune getting loose balls which helped them get extra chances. Down the stretch the Dragons Rhondorf got a clutch trey from ex Nurnberg forward Pal Ghotra while the ETB Wohnbau Miners got more energy and baskets from Luca Michels and Michael Mobes also scored. The Dragons Rhondorf led only 42-30 at the break. “We didn´t execute well and were going 1-5. We were too concerned with ourselves instead of banging the ball inside”, said Anish Sharda. “We played very well despite the circumstances. Michels played very well. He was totally fearless. He has been playing mostly with our second team, but he should have been with us since the beginning of the season”, added Radwin Bakkali. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 41% from the field and 26% from the three point line and had 28 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the ETB Wohnbau Miners shot 26% from the field and 12% from the three point line and had 27 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf finally broke the game wide open with a 38 point explosion in the third quarter as it rained three´s and their lead ballooned to 80-41 after 30 minutes. After Essen got on the board first in the second half with a Michael Agyapong runner, the Dragons Rhondorf exploded for a 16-2 run to extend their lead to 58-34. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf let it rain three´s as Simonas Lukosius drilled home two trey´s while Diijon Allen-Jordan and Anish Sharda also hit from outside. They also got a transition basket from De Olveira retrieving a touch down pass from Allen-Jordan. The ETB Wohnbau Baskets had little offense except for Luca Michels who was in attack mode all night long. He nailed a trey, but then the team would go on another big offensive drought as Rhondorf went on a 14-0 run to extend their lead to 72-37. Allen-Jordan remained aggressive and confident scoring 3 baskets while Lukosius scored another trey and de Olveria made a tap in and Ghotra contributed a three pointer. In the last minutes, Rhondorf got massive production from Kotieno who executed 4 times as there was less and less resistance from Essen on the defensive end as the game wore on. The guests got 2 baskets from Agyapong. “We hit three pointers and executed better. If your opponent plays zone for 40 minutes, then you have to be sharp and execute and we did that”, stressed Anish Sharda. “Rhondorf didn´t make as many shots in the first half, but we got tired in the second half and they started to hit open shots”, stressed Radwin Bakkali. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 52% from the field and 41% from the parking lot and had 40 rebounds and 10 turnovers and the ETB Wohnbau Miners shot 24% from the field and 13% from the parking lot and had 37 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Dragons Rhondorf continued to play their game and led by as much as 49 points, but couldn´t hold it as they allowed a 12-3 run at the end to loose by 39 points. Both teams got their offenses going in the first few minutes as Rhondorf got two baskets from Kotieno while the ETB Wohnbau Miners received two buckets from Michale Moebus. The Dragons Rhondorf then buckled down on defense and got their offense going again going on a 12-3 run to have their biggest lead of the game at 97-48. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to share the ball well letting everyone have a go as Lukkosius nailed another three pointer, Kotieno made a tip in, Besedic nailed another trey and young German Mats Linden made a tap in. The ETB Wohnbau Minersstill had a little energy left in them going on a 12-3 run to cut the Dragons advantage to 100-60. In the Essen run, they got key production from their young German kids as Michels and Moebes both added 5 points a piece. Jonas Falkenstein hit a trey for the 100 points while young 15 year old Senegalen Ousmane Ndiaye also got on the board with a bucket and added 8 rebounds in 12 minutes of work from the bench. “We had too many mistakes on defense. We aren´t following our defensive principles which shows a lack of focus”, stated Anish Sharda. “Despite losing so badly, it was a good learning experience for our young players. They can build off this game and not make the same mistakes in the next game”, warned Radwin Bakkali. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Mark Kotieno with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Diijon Allen-Jordan added 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Gabriel De Olveira added 16 points and 10 rebounds while Simonas Lukosius ahd 13 points while the ETB Wohnbau Miners were led by Luca Michels with 24 points. Michael Moebus added 15 points while Simon Obi had 12 points and 13 boards while Michael Agyapong had 10 points and 15 rebounds. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 48% from the field and 35% from outside and had 55 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the ETB Wohnbau Miners shot 28% from the field and 18% form outside and had 49 rebounds and 16 turnovers.