After suffering a tough home loss to the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen in the season opener in their own living room, the Dragons Rhondorf returned fresh, focused and alive in Dorsten and were able to celebrate their first season victory 106-87. The club gave a great effort having 6 players score in double figures and were brutal inside as the 3 bigs De Olveira, Kotieno and Paul Albrecht combined for 56 points. They also defended hard in the first half limiting 40 point man from the week before Mark Gordon to only 4 points. The Dragons Rhondorf wanted to keep adding on to their new winning streak by also winning their first home game of the season against the BSV Munsterland Baskets. It was the battle of the young as the Dragons Rhondorf had an average age of 20 years and BV Wulfen had an average age of 21 years. After allowing Gordon last weekend to score 22 points in the second half, the ex Pro A team wanted to do a better job against Bryant Allen especially with their rising young player Bruno Albrecht leading the charge on the defensive end. After 40 minutes the Dragons Rhondorf had kept their winning streak alive at 2 as they fought of the BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen 86-68, but it wasn´t an easy task. The game was a tale of 2 halves as the guests were in charge in the first half, but let down their defensive intensity and allowed Simonas Lukosius to get very hot from downtown and Gabriel De Olveira to dominate inside and on transition. “We had a lot to prove after losing our first home game. The critics said we can´t be good as a young team and no American. But we proved tonight that we have a good goal. It was our will to win that got us the win. Our first half wasn´t good, but in the second half we played harder and were able to pull out the win”, stressed German/Lithuanian Simonas Lukpsius. Not only did the guests get weaker on defense in the second half, but had a problem all game taking care of the ball suffering 23 turnovers at the end. After the tough defeat, Wulfen guard Bryant Allen explained what went wrong. “We came out aggressive in the first half and had them on their heels, but in the second half, they played more physical and got into their systems better. When you give up 52 points in the second half, then it´s tough to come back. We have to learn to weather the storm and play together for 40 minutes and not 38 minutes”, stated Bryan Allen.
Both teams had guys missing, but it was BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen that were hit the hardest missing 3 key players. 35 year old big man Michael Hauke was missed the most and could of combated the physicality of De Olveira and young Germans Erik Neusel and Jonas Kleinert also were missed. Both teams needed a few minutes to get going as Wulfen were the first to score on the game´s seventh possession. Young German guard Bruno Albrecht gave Rhondorf the 3-2 lead after a few minutes, but that didn´t last long. The guests stormed out on a 9-1 run to lead 11 led by their motor 20 year old 198cm point guard Alexander Winck who scored 7 points in the run. His game was so electrifying and powerful, one could of said that he stole the show from American import Bryant Allen who is usually responsible for the bulk scoring. “We feed off each other. He can really play. He is a great player when he puts his mind to it. It took him a while to get going, but this was his best game this season. He is coming off an ankle injury and wants to come back strong”, stated Bryant Allen. But then came the energy from the bench from young German Dragon Oshane Drews who played in the Braunschwieg organization last season. He came on the floor using his biggest weapon his quickness and brutal 1-1 skills scoring on a lay in and then made a steal and fed De Olveira on transition for the hard 2 handed stuff as Rhondorf trailed 11-7. But Wulfen kept off the Rhondorf pressure getting a rapid 5-0 run from a Allen three pointer and Winck lay in as Wulfen led 16-7. Rhondorf did get some key three´s at the end by ex Hanau German Paul Albrecht and ex Leverkusen guard Jacon Engelhardt, but another Winck trey gave BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen the comfortable 22-15 lead after 10 minutes. “Winck was huge for us and hit everything. We also did a good job closing the way to the basket”, stated German Michael Haucke. The guests were shooting at a very high percentage in the mid 50´s from the field and outside while the Dragons Rhondorf shot33% form the field and 37% form outside. Wulfen had the slim 9-7 rebound lead.
The BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen kept the lead in the second quarter, but could never extend their lead into double figures as Rhondorf was able to hang around trailing only 39-32 at the break. After a horrible begin to the first quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf came out more prepared in the second quarter upping their defensive intensity and being able to execute on offense. They hit Wulfen with a 7-2 run to trail only 25-22. Rhondorf did a good job on offense getting a finger tip roll lay in from Lukosius, a reverse lay up by Mark Kotieno on transition and a pull up jumper by Drews who showed that he knows how to pick his spots. The guests however always had an answer when Rhondorf was threatening. Allen scored on an open pull up jumper and young German Lukas Van Buer scored on the third team offensive rebound. Rhondorf was too inconsistent in this phase and just couldn´t match Wuilfen´s physicality. At least Rhondorf could execute here and there, but couldn´t get efficient stops on defense. German Nils Peters also showed why he can hit big shots and Allen scolded Rhondorf´s lax defense with another mid distance jumper for the 34-26 advantage. Rhondorf had massive problems on 1-1 defense giving up easy baskets. Winck hit another huge three erupting with a huge roar. Lukosius matched him with a trey, but at the break the Dragons Rhondorf were trailing by 7 points. “Rhondorf relied too much on their athleticism and we on our physicality. We defended well and did a better job fighting for position under the basket”, added Michael Haucke. Wulfen continued to shoot at a high percentage at 48% from the field and 50% from the three point line while Rhondorf shot 38% from the field and 30% from the three point line. The guests had made a big jump on the boards leading that battle 21-15, but had 10 turnovers to Rhondorf´s 7.
In the third quarter BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen would extend their lead to 10 points early, but then lost control of the game and lead and never retrieved it back. After Kotieno and Van Buer swapped buckets, it was Allen and Lukosius who did the same with three pointers and Sadiq Ajagbe scored on a 2 handed dunk for the 46-37 Wulfen advantage. Rhondorf continued to be inconsistent and didn´t have that energy on the defensive end to get some stops. But then came the turning point of the game as the Dragons Rhondorf escaped on a fierce 19-5 run to lead 56-51 after 30 minutes and they would never look back again. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf were helped by 3 Lukosius three pointers, but also received support from Kotieno with 2 back to back 20 footers and a nifty Paul Albrecht left handed lay in. Rhondorf had finally put it together at both ends of the floor. Rhondorf mixed it up on offense playing smooth inside out basketball keeping the guests on their toes, but a lack of defensive intensity didn´t allow Wulfen to get consistent stops. “My three´s helped in the run, but overall w didn´t force anything and just played our game. We knew that with our ball movement that somebody would always be open. Today it just happened to me”, answered Simonas Lukosius. “Lukosius was in our scouting report, but somehow we lost him. We let up and lost our grit. When a guy like that hits 1-2 shots, then the basket starts to look big and we doesn´t miss. We lost our intensity and got fatigued, but in a moment like that we have to remain locked in and use our brain”, added Bryant Allen. Even if the Guests shooting percentages were declining, they still shot 44% from the field and 47% from outside while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 45% from the field and 36% from outside. Rhondorf did a better job on the boards trailing only 26-25 and had only 11 turnovers while Wulfen had coughed up the ball 16 times.
In the fourth quarter the Dragons Rhondorf did a fantastic job managing their lead and never giving it up dancing until the end getting the victory. Both teams traded 4-0 runs to begin the fourth quarter as Rhondorf countered with Bruno Albrecht and De Olveira baskets and Wulfen got support from Winck as Wulfen trailed only 60-56. But that was as close as the guests would get as the Dragons Rhondorf then slammed the door shut on Wulfen going on a brutal 20-4 run to extend their lead to 80-60. In the run they got 3 buckets from De Olveira who was a real menace at both ends of the court. A physical Michael Hauke could have slowed the German down a bit. Getting De Olveira more involved was key as in the first half, Wulfen had done a better job limiting his touches and presence inside. Lukosius also continued his hot shooting with 2 more three´s. The fatigue had caught up with Wulfen which led to more turnovers. Rhondorf also did a good job getting to the free throw line. Allen and Winck led Wulfen on a 5-0 run late, but it wasn´t enough as the Dragons Rhondorf moved to 2-1 in the Regionalliga West. “De Olveira was a beast on offense. When you get him the ball then he is hard to stop. We are a lot better than 2 weeks ago. Coach Thomas has done a good job with us. We have learned to stick together better”, warned Simonas Lukosius. “I thought that overal we did a pretty good job on De Olveira, but he is a great player. There is a reason why he plays at a high level. He has gotten better. He loves to run and push the ball. We weren´t locked in. Once a guy like that gets going, he is tough to stop. You can only contain a guy like that who is so active on both ends”, added Bryant Allen. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Simonas Lukosius with 25 points on 7 three´s and Gabriel De Olveira had 24 points and 7 boards. The BSV Munsterland Baskets Wulfen were led by Alexander Winck with 22 points while Bryant Allen added 19 points and 6 assists. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 49% from the field and 34% from outside while Wulfen shot 41% form the field and 42% form outside. Wulfen edged Rhondorf on the boards 36-34, but turned over the ball a disgusting 23 times while Rhondorf coughed up the ball 16 times. On Sunday the Dragons Rhondorf travel over the Rheine river to neighbors Telekom Baskets Bonn 2 and will be looking for their third consecutive win this season.