2021 hasn´t been glorious for the EPG Baskets Koblenz as basketball life is getting more and more strenuous with every new loss. So far the ambitious club that has huge aspirations of moving up to the Pro A had an unflattering 0-4 record in 2021 and their basketball life wasn´t getting any easier as the tough 9-5 Dresden Titans arrived in Koblenz. The club experienced a lot of player personal fluctuations in the last days as German Jacob Mampuya surprisingly left the organization and the club reeled in four new players with ex BBL players Anthony Canty and Oliver Clay as well as experienced Pro B players Philipp Liesser and Mr bucket Bill Borekambi. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had a do or die game in Frankfurt last weekend getting embarrassed 86-76 and now it was high noon in Koblenz as they desperately were seeking a success experience. Once again the EPG Baskets had their chances to win at the end, but once again were unable to prevail in crunch-time as annoying turnovers and mental errors cost them their fifth straight loss in 2021. After the loss a disgruntled and very disappointed manager of the EPG Baskets Koblenz Thomas Klein gave clear answers to his frustration. “They hit the three pointers in the deciding moments. We didn´t defend the three point line well. We threw balls away showing no motivation. Despite that we still get 2-3 chances to make plays, but we don´t use them, but our opponent does. We continue to show that we can lead by 10 points or more, but then we get this downward trend which I don´t know why. I also don´t like our body language on the bench. It was like day and night compared with Dresden´s body language. Dresden always had the same energy level, but we didn´t have any”, stressed Thomas Klein. Dresden played with a high intensity for 40 minutes and even when they had bad phases, they never gave up showing the better nerves in crunch-time. “I have to give a lot of respect to Koblenz. I never thought that they would play a zone against us. We had our problems against it in the first half, but showed more patience in the second half. We hit our shots better in the second half and defended better in the right situations against the right players”, stated Dresden Titans head coach Fabian Strauss.
The Dresden Titans were without big man Georg Voigtmann while Koblenz was without American CJ Oldham. The Dresden Titans came out in the first quarter with the correct attitude and energy taking the rapid 8-2 lead and catching the EPG Baskets Koblenz on the wrong foot. Dresden got instant energy from German guard Daniel Kirchner who scored on transition and on a lay in and from ex Fraport Skyliner center Aaron Kayser who dropped free throws and scored on transition. New Koblenz forward Bill Borekambi also scored his first basket with his new team in the paint. Dresden excelled with a beautiful offensive ball movement and had a big focus with the extra pass. Koblenz seemed nervous and couldn´t find a sound rhythm. Dresden also did a good job not allowing Koblenz to get Brian Butler integrated quickly in the paint. Butler would never find his usual rhythm as he finished with only 5 points. However basketball will always be a game of runs as the EPG Baskets Koblenz got out of their funk and found a rhythm at both ends of the court closing out the first quarter in style with a lethal 14-4 run to lead 16-12 after 10 minutes. Instrumental in the run was American DJ Woodmore who found his game again after a poor shooting night in Frankfurt. He nailed a few buckets showing how easily he can find his spots which got his self-confidence going and also helped his teammates get going. German Lucas Mayer also scored twice as his self-confidence was also high after dropping 14 points in Frankfurt last weekend. Borekambi also contributed on the offense with a floater. Koblenz heightened their defense adding intensity and aggressiveness which caused Dresden to cough up the ball a few times.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz continued to control the game in the second quarter and led by as much as 10 points, but as usually is the case, they couldn´t keep up the momentum and let up in the last few minutes allowing the Dresden Titans to cut the Koblenz lead down to 31-28 at the break. The EPG Baskets Koblenz stopped Dresden´s first five possessions, but could only capitalize on it with 5 points. Ex FC Schalke guard Marley Jean-Louis who can shoot out the lights on certain nights began with a trey and ex wiha Panthers forward Bill Borekambi followed with a basket on transition extending Koblenz´s lead to 21-14. Koblenz continued to execute on offense and Dresden wasn´t so bad themselves, but they couldn´t hit the ocean. Dresden then got their first field goal of the second quarter at the 7,17 minute mark as German big man Max Von Der Wippel got an offensive rebound and put back. Aggressive guard Daniel Kirchner followed with a 20 footer cutting Koblenz´s lead to 22-14. Koblenz continued to control the game, but Dresden stayed on their heels as Kirchner continued to execute making a trey and cutting the Koblenz lead down to 25-19. Dresden had shown unselfishness the whole game and this basket was their best ball movement of the game. The EPG Baskets then extended their lead to 31-21 as Woodmore continued to connect making a 20 footer and new player Philipp Liesser who once had played for Dresden scored on a back door pass from ex Fordham(NCAA) guard Zaire Thompson. Butler got the ball a few times and got to the free throw line, but scored only two of four shots. The EPG Baskets Koblenz couldn´t hold their lead as they gave up a bitter 7-0 run to Dresden to allow them back into the game and trail only 31-28 at half-time. In the run, it was Kirchner again showing the hot hand with a trey and German guard Lennard Larysz scored on transition.
The third quarter proved to be a real dog fight as the Dresden Titans held the tight 55-51 advantage after 30 minutes. Ex Speyer guard DJ Woodmore got Koblenz on the board first with a trey to extend their lead to 34-28, but they continued to experience highs and lows as they allowed Dresden on a quick 7-0 run to recapture the lead 35-34. In the run, the Titans got solid offensive production from many sides as Kayser scored in the paint, German Julius Stahl hit an open trey and Larysz made a runner. The extra pass offense of Dresden gave Koblenz fits as they had problems controlling it. Dresden did a good job getting into the paint and getting easy chances while Koblenz practiced bad shot selection. The EPG Baskets Koblenz didn´t allow the Dresden Titans to run away with the game as they simply had too many offensive weapons ready to get hot. German guard Marley Jean-Louis hit two massive three´s to keep Koblenz close while Dresden got consistent support from Kayser who scored three baskets in the paint for the 49-46 Dresden advantage. Zaire Thompson was kept scoreleThe Dresden Titans Sneak Out 69-64 Road Victory Over The EPG Baskets Koblenzss, but he was huge on defense getting 6 steals which helped lead to two clutch Edin Alispoahic trey´s which cut the Dresden lead to 52-51. The ex Schwenningen big man had been out for a while and returned scoring 8 points, grabbing 4 rebounds and getting 3 steals. “It felt good to play again. I was positively nervous. I tried to help my team with my defense first. We have enough good scorers”, stressed Edin Alispahic. “Edin was the best player on the court. He showed presence at both ends of the court and made big shots when we needed them”, stated Thomas Klein. Larysz ended the third quarter with a three pointer as the Dresden Titans led 55-51. “We read their defense better and filled the holes in the zone better”, stressed Fabian Strauss.
The fourth quarter was a real tight affair whereas the third quarter had 47 total points by both teams, only 27 points were mustered in the last 10 minutes. The Dresden Titans allowed Koblenz to tie the game only once as the home team would never get the lead back. Alispahic carried the hot hand from the third quarter into the fourth quarter as he sunk another trey to trail Dresden only by 55-54. Ex Speyer forward Sebastian Heck hadn´t had much fortune with his shooting in the first three quarters, but he found some daylight in the first few minutes of the fourth sinking two trey´s for the 62-57 Dresden lead. He also made an impact on defense swatting away five balls and getting two steals. “We aren´t the best shooting team, but when shots aren´t falling we just keep shooting. We give each other confidence to keep shooting. I´m not the most athletic guy so my arms save me on defense. I just keep moving my arms”, smiled Sebastian Heck. Dresden hit open shots while Koblenz didn´t cover the three point line and were sloppy on offense The EPG Baskets didn´t hang their heads storming back to dead lock the game at 62-62 with a swift 5-0 run. In the run, they got a huge trey from Liesser, but couldn´t execute well enough from the free throw line nailing only two of four from Jean-Louis and Butler as overall they shot a miserable 56% from there. After a Bryan Niessen lay in, Bill Borekambi scored in the paint cutting Dresden´s lead to 65-64. Daniel Kirchner then sealed the win with an aggressive drive to the rim and basket for the 67-64 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz coughed up the ball on their last two possessions and Kirchner closed out the victory with two free throws. “We made the wrong decisions and had turnovers at the end. We played ok defense, but you have to score a few baskets to win”, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez. “Our coaches did a great job scouting. We knew the strengths of each player. We played good team defense, defended the three point line well and helped each other out well”, added Sebastian Heck. The Dresden Titans were led by Daniel Kirchner with 18 points. Lennard Larysz contributed 15 points and Aaron Kayser added 14 points and 8 rebounds while the EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by DJ Woodmore and Marley jean-Louis with 12 points a piece. Bill Borekambi added 11 points and Philipp Liesser had 10 points. The Dresden Titans shot 40% from the field and 30% from outside and had 44 rebounds and 22 turnovers while the EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 38% form the field and 33% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 21 turnovers.