Winning streaks always come to an end and the EPG Baskets Koblenz saw their great season start of 4-0 end with a loss in Bavaria against the TSV Oberaching Tropics 90-84. As usual the EPG Baskets Koblenz were able to display a solid offensive fire power placing 5 players in double figures, but if you can´t defend in a proper manner and cough up the ball 19 times, it will be difficult to win the game. Plus it also didn´t help that ex BBL German Peter Zeis exploded for 30 points. Sometimes a loss can be a positive experience in disguise as now the club has that undefeated record off their chest and know that they aren´t invincible. The club quickly wiped the loss out of their memory and came back to battle against the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer a team that came to Koblenz riding a 1-2 record. They had had a whole month off as their last game was an unsatisfying 114-80 loss against BBC Coburg. Allowing 16 three´s and losing the rebound battle in Coburg gave the club many weeks to ponder and wanted to give a better defensive effort in Koblenz and did playing pick up basketball the whole night, but allowed only 10 points in the last quarter fighting back to gain their first lead with 57 seconds to play, but didn´t get rewarded losing 72-68. At the press conference a dejected and very somber looking head coach Carl Mbassa stood ready for any questions fired at him and had to digest the tough loss. “We were unable to find our rhythm in the first quarter. We couldn´t handle the athleticism from Koblenz. Our record may be 1-3, but we know what we are capable of doing. Still I´m proud of how the team came back and always fought and played with discipline. I thought that we sold ourselves well. We have a good character and will come back”, warned Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer head coach Carl Mbassa. EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez had his usual game face look during the press conference questions and one could tell that he was relieved that his team could eke out a real classic nail bitter. “We wanted to start out well and did. Our energy let up in the second quarter. In the third quarter we were able to lead by 10 points again. Overal there were simply too many up and downs with our energy today”, said EPG Baskets head coach Danny Rodriguez.
Both teams had key players missing as the EPG Baskets Koblenz were without ex wiha Panthers big man Edin Alispahic while the AHORN Camp BIS Baskets Speyer were without American guard Jordan Rezendes. “I have an adductor problem that is hard to heal. I wish that I could have been out there for my teammates, especially in a close game”, said American Jordan Rezendes. The home team Koblenz wasted absolute no time jumping all over Speyer the way You Tuber Jake Paul did all over ex NBA Nate Robinson knocking him out last night taking a quick 8-0 lead. In the run it was ex Ehingen forward Brian Butler that dominated scoring 3 buckets as his overall aggressiveness and incredible anticipation for rebounds and finding the open spot and knowing where the basket is couldn´t be handled by the opponent. “Everything Brian does is great. Everything is so automatic for him. The reason he is able to make so many plays is because of how hard he works”, commented ex Leverkusen forward CJ Oldham. Dutch forward Chaed Wellian also showed that he can compete with the athleticism of Buter making a hard slam dunk on transition. Koblenz did a good job getting out on transition as Koblenz defended aggressively, got in passing lanes and played good pick and roll defense not allowing Speyer into their offensive sets. Koblenz suffered a little lull on defense allowing Speyer to go on a 5-0 run to cut the Koblenz lead down to 8-5 as ex BBL player Tim Schwartz nailed a trey and ex Bosnian Concord University (NCAA2) forward Simun Kovac made a lay in. But it didn´t take the EPG Baskets Koblenz long to get their offense going again as they stormed back going on a 5-0 run as ex FC Schalke guard Marley Jean-Louis scored inside and CJ Oldham scored on transition executing on a acrobatic lay in and giving his team the 12-5 advantage. Oldham had another very impressive game showing his excellent versatility filling the stat sheet finishing with 8 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. “My role with every team has been different. I just always try to make plays to help my team win”, warned CJ Oldham. Ex BBL player Marc Liyanage nailed a trey cutting the Koblenz lead down to 12-8. But the Koblenz offense was too strong for Speyer as they came back with a rapid 7-0 run to lead 19-8 getting buckets from Ex Speyer guard DJ Woodmore, Oldham and Buter all in the zone. Speyer showed no physicality inside and Koblenz played fine team basketball taking advantage of the lax Speyer physicality resulting in easy baskets. In the last few minutes, the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer got some much needed energy from their athletic 199cm small forward Darian Cardenas who began his basketball career with USC Heidelberg and had 43 Pro A games with Jena and Rostock scored 5 points hitting a pretty fade away jumper and nailing a trey. After 10 minutes the EPG Baskets Koblenz had the comfortable 22-14 lead.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz kept the lead in the second quarter, but the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer stepped up their game to another level and showed that they weren´t about to back away from the home team on this night. Once again the EPG Baskets Koblenz began well taking going on a fast 10-4 run to extend their lead to 32-18. In the run, the troops of head coach Danny Rodriguez got vital support from ex Giessen guard Lukas Meyer who drilled home a three pointer, Wellian who also connected from downtown andgot lay in´s from Woodmore and Butler. Koblenz was displaying a fine combination of inside out basketball while Speyer continued to lose many 1-1 battles on defense. Speyer got 2 baskets from Liyanage and Cardenas, but Koblenz was defending hard and only giving Speyer very tough shots. Speyer went on a 6-2 run as at times, Koblenz was unable to keep their consistent offensive flow. Speyer got key baskets from Cardenas who makes his fade away jumper look like a work of art, ex Heidelberg forward David Aichele made a 10 footer and ex BG Karlsruhe guard Eric Curth made a smart offensive rebound and put back that enraged Danny Rodriguez to call a time out despite the comfortable 34-24 advantage. Despite no fans and loud music during the time out, one could hear the anger of Rodriguez on the sidelines as he was barking new commands to his players. Speyer was showing better energy on offense, but Koblenz continued to defend very well making every shot tough for Speyer. Despite the time out by Koblenz, Speyer closed out the second quarter in fine fashion going on a 8-4 run to trail only 38-32 at half-time. In their run, they got important help from Cardenas who was their work horse on offense tallying 5 points including a nice hook shot while Eric Curth dropped a key trey. Koblenz got buckets from Woodmore and ex BBL player Jacob Mampuya. “We went to a zone in the second quarter to try to get Koblenz out of rhythm. We just tried to change things around and it helped us. We did a good job switching ball screens and that brought Koblenz more into isolation ball”, stressed Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer head coach Carl Mbassa.
In the third quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz were able to hold the lead despite many attempts by the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer to almost get over the hump, but when ever they tried, it was huge three pointers that kept Koblenz ahead. The Koblenz offense continued to work very well in the first few minutes as Louis, Woodmore and Wellian all scored, but Speyer also was playing a lot better on offense as Kovac brought some important intensity inside getting 2 baskets and Kovac then when double teamed found a cutting Schwarz into the lane for an easy basket, but Koblenz still led 45-38. Speyer then went on a 4-0 run as Cardenas made free throws and Schwartz scored inside cutting the Koblenz lead to 45-42. Speyer did a good job taking advantage of early Koblenz foul trouble. Speyer was threatening, but Koblenz relied on their three point shooting as Woodmore connected to give Koblenz the 48-42 lead. Kovac made an offensive rebound and put back as Speyer threatened again trailing 49-44, but then came the next trey from Mampuya to keep the Koblenz lead at 52-44. Woodmore and Mampuya again then drilled home the next 2three pointer for the 58-48 Koblenz advantage as Speyer just couldn´t get closer and get consistent stops while exerting more energy in the comeback. Koblenz showed just how deep they were as Butler was no factor, but could easily compensate that with their raining of three´s. Schwartz made a trey late and Koblenz also got Butler going again as he scored 4 points in the last minute scoring on transition and also making another big offensive rebound with his incredible anticipation and put back as Koblenz led 62-53. “Even if we were down 10 points we always felt like we could come back. Of course if the deficit goes down to 15-20 points then it becomes even tougher to come back”, stated Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer head coach Carl Mbassa. “It is great to have the three point shooting, but we also have to play more inside. If we play more inside it also helps our shooters get open”, added Chaed Wellian.
The fourth quarter proved to be the best defensive quarter that the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer have played this season. They stepped up their defense like never before allowing only 10 points and held Koblenz to no field goals for 9.32 minutes. Speyer didn´t play their best offense, but it was enough to get back into the game. In the early minutes, Speyer got some key baskets from Schwartz and Liyanage who did a great job muscling inside for an offensive rebound and put back cutting the Koblenz lead down to 63-57. On the defensive end, they were playing their most aggressive defense of the game forcing turnovers left and right as Brian Butler coughed up the ball a few times and finished with 4. “Mistakes happen and they are mental. We have to learn to minimize them and grow together more as a team. We have to grow to play well for 40 minutes”, warned Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez. Speyer continued to chip away and got 2 baskets from Kovac inside to cut the Koblenz lead down to 63-61. Every now and then Koblenz got to the free throw line, but twice only got 1 of 2 shots from Louis and Woodmore giving Koblenz the 65-61 lead. Speyer continued to get stronger and stronger as they began to feel they could win the game. Schwartz hit a massive trey to cut the Koblenz lead down to 65-64 with 3,29 to play. Speyer continued getting stops and Schwartz then gave Speyer their first lead of the contest with a jumper 67-65 with 1,38 to play. Oldham then continued the Koblenz free throw drought hitting only one as Speyer held the 67-66 lead with 57 seconds to play. Young 19 year old German Valentin Rappold who began his career with the TSV Crailsheim Merlins 2nd team (2.Regionalliga) played a huge role at the end. He made some big defensive rebounds and made a huge offensive rebound with under a minute to go. He got the ultimate compliment from head coach Carl Mbassa after the loss.“”Valentin was key for our comeback. He made us better. He is without a doubt our best defender. He has a great IQ and played excellent against DJ Woodmore”, stressed Carl Mbassa. After a Kovac turnover came the turning point of the game as Koblenz finally hit their first field goal of the game with 28 seconds to go. Wellian made a 20 footer that carried his team to the victory. “”The original play was to get some one open on the post. We didn´t get that so we had to find a solution and my team found me and I made the shot. I just try to keep everybody together when we hit a slump”, warned Chad Wellian. Koblenz then closed out the win with Woodmore and Oldham free throws. “Speyer played very passive and switched everything. We didn´t attack enough and were too slow to get out on transition”, said Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez. “I felt like we really could of changed the game in the last 2 minutes. There were 2 crucial mistakes at the end that changed the game and Wellian´s shot was one of them”, said Speyer head coach Carl Mbassa. The EPG baskets Koblenz were led by DJ Woodmore with 18 points. Brian Butler added 15 points and Chaed Wellian contributed 11 points while the Ahorn camp BIS Baskets Speyer were led by Tim Schwartz with 20 points. Darian Cardenas added 17 points and Simun Kovac had 14 points and 15 rebounds including 8 offensive rebounds. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 47% from the field and 29% from outside and had 27 rebounds and 14 turnovers while the Ahorn Camp BIS Baskets Speyer shot 45% form the field and 32% from outside and had 27 rebounds and 20 turnovers.