The days are getting longer as everyone is wishing for warmer weather while in Koblenz the days get longer and longer for the EPG Baskets Koblenz who were still continuing to seek their first victory in 2021. The club that has massive aspirations to move up to the Pro A haven´t been showing that brilliant basketball as of late as they had lost five games in a row. Their last loss was at the hands of the Dresden Titans as they had chances to win again, but as usual couldn´t finish the game as crunch-time continues to be a real annoying thorn in their side. Only 48 hours after losing to Dresden, they had to be ready for the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau who had been playing excellent basketball as of late having a 5 game winning streak and were in deep competition with Koblenz for the playoff spots as both had a 8-7 record coming in. Hanau also had some revenge in their heads as they had lost the first game of the season at home against Koblenz 89-82. But this time the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau witnessed a totally different rejuvenated Koblenz team as they finally won their first game in 2021 as they got destroyed 82-60. Even if Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez had his usual post game expression, one could see the major relief that he had after finally winning in 2021. “A huge load has been lifted from my shoulders, the players and the organization. Dresden was a difficult game where we had no rhythm. To come back two days later and play so well shows the moral of the team. I am very proud of the team. We live off our energy, passion, quickness and aggressiveness on offense. That helped us get the win tonight”, stressed Danny Rodriguez. It was only a matter of time until Koblenz would finally win again, and Hanau picked a bad day to come and have to witness a total turnaround in their game. Hanau had injury problems and huge deficits under the basket. “Congrats to Koblenz for the win. We were without our big man Acosta and Josef Eichler got into early foul problems. After that we weren´t in the game anymore. We had problems getting rebounds tonight”, stated Hanau head coach Kamil Piechucki.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz showed no mercy right from the jump and hurried off to a rapid 10-3 lead hitting Hanau with swift blows on offense. Instrumental in the fast start was Virginia native DJ Woodmore who was his old self. After a terrible shooting night in Frankfurt after being out some weeks, he came back and played better in the loss to Dresden, but against Hanau upped his game another notch. His aggressiveness was at an all-time high. He was all over the court in the first minutes which lifted his teammates as well. The ex Speyer guard scored two baskets as finding his spots was as normal as it is for Steph Curry nailing that clutch three. “This was one of my best games this season. All I have to do is feed of the team energy. All I have to do is be aggressive. My teammates continued to tell me to attack and put pressure on the defense”, stressed DJ Woodmore who finished with 17 points. Koblenz were also strengthend with a trey from athletic Dutch forward Chad Wellian and ex Fordham(NCAA) guard Zaire Thompson also added a trey from the corner. Koblenz was defending very aggressive and were a menace on the boards. They grabbed three offensive boards in the first few minutes which would set the tone for the game. Basketball is a game of runs as Hanau took the usual up and down play of Koblenz to their advantage storming back on a 9-2 run to dead lock the game at 12-12. In the run, they received a trey from ex Fraport Skyliner Junior Felix Hecker, a lay in from German big man Josef Eichler and a clutch three from ex Oberaching guard Omari Knox. But Koblenz got out of their hole and finished off the first quarter with a 9-3 run to lead 21-15 after 10 minutes. In the run the EPG Baskets Koblenz got another basket from DJ Woodmore, got free throws from German guard Lucas Mayer, a three pointer from bench player German Henning Schaake and a bucket from Brian Butler who had surprisingly been held pretty quiet in the first quarter. Koblenz ´s offense was solid and they were getting sound production from everyone which Hanau couldn´t slow down.
In the second quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz would continue to lead and extend their lead to as much as 13 points and led by double digits at the break. Koblenz tried to get Brian “air” Butler going in the second quarter as he scored a pretty reverse lay up past two Hanau players and also sunk free throws. Koblenz also got support from Edin Alispahic with a nice turn around shot and German Henning Schaake with a lay in. With Bill Borekambi and Philipp Liesser not in the lineup, Schaake was inserted into a bigger role as he logged 21 minutes and scored 13 points, had 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. “It was fun to play more. I hoped I could help the team. We had a big talk on Friday night which helped. The noise from the bench and confidence of coach helped me”, stressed Henning Schaake. “Henning never complains but just gave gas. He showed his good moral and attitude. He came out with a lot of energy”, warned head coach Danny Rodriguez. The Ebbecke White Wings Hanau couldn´t muster much offense and had to rely more on Eichler and Spanish undersized big man Eduard Arques who kept the guests in the game with baskets cutting the Koblenz lead to 31-26. But even when Hanau had small spurts of offense, they couldn´t get consistent stops on defense allowing Koblenz on a 8-0 run to quickly lead again 39-26. Koblenz´s offense was well rounded as Woodmore kept doing his thing hitting a jumper, while Butler was his normal beast mode on the boards getting an offensive rebound and massive two handed put back dunk and Alispahic showed his versatility and touch with a trey. Koblenz´s self confidence was sky high and they continued to defend with passion. Koblenz held the double digit lead going into half-time getting added production from Thompson and Mayer while Hanau continued to rely on the consistent offense from Arques who drilled home two trey´s. “We played good defense, but the three´s from Arques held Hanau in the game. Without those three´s, it would have been a different game”, stated EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz totally broke open the contest in the third quarter extending their lead to 20 plus points. In the first few minutes, the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau did a good job keeping the Koblenz lead at 10 getting some support from 19 year old German guard Justus Peuser who scored twice as did swift guard Felix Hecker. Koblenz got offense production from Lucas Mayer with a lay in and another trey from Chad Wellian as Koblenz held on to the 53-43 advantage. But that is when the turning point of the game came as Koblenz struck with a massive 16-5 run to end the third quarter with a very comfortable 69-48 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz got great bench support from their Germans as Mayer nailed a trey getting a nice kick out pass from Butler and Schaake continued to be aggressive from the bench with a pretty alley-oop tap in and trey while also showing his defensive skills with a big block on Peuser. Wellian also aided in the offensive attack with a trey as did Butler with a giant two handed dunk. “Turnovers killed us. We gave up too many easy baskets against our zone. They got the momentum and held it because of their high energy”, stated Hanau guard Omari Knox.
In the fourth quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz let up a bit on offense with more hurried shots and turnovers, but still held their own on defense allowing only 12 points to be able to win by 22 points. Scoring was down on both sides as Hanau was already getting ready for the next team while Koblenz wanted to enjoy their first win in 2021. Hanau got 5 points from Josef Eichler who was playing with four fouls while Koblenz got some added insurance with three pointers from Thompson and Woodmore. German Philipp Hecker closed out the game with a trey for some stat fine tuning. All in all it was a huge win for the EPG Baskets Koblenz as they want to secure that playoff spot. “This was a special win that was important for the team. When we play with high energy on offense and defense, we are a completely different team. This was a fun game for all as all players played up to their qualities. We rebounded well and we always had Hanau a step too late with our energy. This was a fun game to watch”, stated Thomas Klein. “Rebounding was a huge problem for us. They played hard on defense and got extra shots. The three offensive rebounds in the first minutes killed our energy. But we didn´t give up. We just tried to finish the game as hard as possible and hope it carries over to the next game”, stressed Omari Knox. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by DJ Woodmore with 17 points. Brian Butler added 16 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists while Henning Schaake ahd 13 points and Edin Alispahic 11 points while the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau were led by Euard Arques with 13 points while Felix Hecker had 10 points. The EPG baskets Koblenz shot 48% from the field and 36% from outside and had 48 rebounds and 19 turnovers while the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau shot 35% from the field and 30% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 13 turnovers.