September wasn’t a good month for the Bona Baskets Limburg as they got off to a slow start in the Regionalliga South west after having last season cancelled. Right in their opening game, they may have already had the most spectacular game of the season even if it didn’t go in their favor losing a wild shoot out at home 121-120 to the Sunkings Saarlouis on a brutal Jesse Ani buzzer beater. This was a game they could have won, but once again was deserted by their defense. They came back on the road losing to Mannheim 85-77 as they continue to have problems establishing an identity on defense. Limburg met SV 03 Tuebingen 2 team in their third season game who are very young for Regionalliga standards having an average of 22 years of age. Tuebingen saw two extremes in their first two games getting hammered by Fellbach 101-70 and then winning a 109-96 shoot out against new Regionalliga team Bensheim. More fans were in Limburg than at the first home game for and were delighted as their team finally won their first game of the season 86-66 over SV 03 Tigers Tuebingen. Both teams were even after one quarter, but from the second quarter until the end, the Bona Baskets Limburg controlled the game thanks to steady defense and a powefulr KJ Sherril who was unstoppable inside as the guests were undermanned and had a severe size deficit. ‘Key to getting our first win was energy. We lacked energy in Mannheim last weekend. We began with a zone and they had good ball movement. As soon as we went to man we controlled the game helping us get the win’, stated Justin Stallbohm. ‘We had a very thin rotation. Timo Fischer has been out since the first game with a ACL. We began well against their zone, but once they went to man it got harder for us. We were very small and it was tough’, stated German Nico Hihn.
The Bona Baskets Limburg didn’t waste any time jumping all over Tuebingen taking an early 10-3 lead. Their offense got cooking as Stahlbohm, ex Koblenz forward Noah Westerhaus, work horse KJ Sherril and Lithuanian beast Mantas Bernatavicius got buckets. Limburg played good inside out basketball, but got their three point shooting going first. The guests couldn’t muster much against the Limburg zone. Basketball is a game of runs as Tuebingen struck back with a 9-3 run to dead lock the contest at 12-12. Key in the run was young German Joshua Schwalbold who got the team the needed energy which was followed by instant baskets from Nico Hihn. Limburg kept the slim lead, but couldn’t get away, because the guests got some extra offensive rebounds that gave them extra possessions. Hihn continued to be a big offensive threat with another trey and 38 year old guard Hans Kienzle also connected on a deep trey. KJ Sherril continued to be a monster in the paint doing whatever he wanted to making the opponent dizzy with his quick turn around shot and helped on the defensive end with his talking. After 10 minutes there was no leader as the game was tied at 20-20.
In the second quarter the Bona Baskets Limburg made a run and would never look back leading by 13 points at the break. The first few minutes were still a tight affair as Stallbohm, Sherrill and Kaan Kus scored while Tuebingen countered with baskets from Mirjan Broening and Joshua Schwalbold to cut the Limburg lead to 28-26. But the Bona Baskets Limburg then turned the game around into their favor going on a 11-3 run to extend their lead to 39-29. In the run it was Austrian/Croatian Matjei Kljaic who once had a triple double with Idstein against Stuttgart showed just how strong he can be scoring 7 points. He nailed a trey and scored twice on the penetration as when he is on, is very hard to stop. Tuebingen made bad decisions on offense and didn’t have the best shot selection. The Bona Baskets Limburg kept up the momentum closing out the second quarter well as the two bigs Westerhaus and Sherril continued to annoy the guests with their play. Sherril began the fury in the last minute making a quick steal at the center line near out of bounds and making a no look circus pass that found Westerhaus for the crushing dunk as the fans went wild. After stopping Tuebingen on offense, Westerhaus returned with a three pointer and after another Tuebingen stop, Sherril and Kljaic executed the pick and roll beautifully. Sherril finished with patented turn around shot which is close to unstoppable as Limburg had the 46-33 advantage at half-time.
In the third quarter the Bona Baskets Limburg didn’t let down and continued to play their ruthless hardnosed game at both ends of the floor always keeping that double digit lead and having the very comfortable 65-44 lead after 30 minutes. The Bona Baskets Limburg noticed that the guests would continue to get exhausted as time went on and did their best to take advantage of the length and size. Sherril began with a lay in which was followed by a Westerhaus three pointer as Limburg led 51-33. Limburg played good aggressive defense using their physicality and stopped Tuebingen’s first four possession. German Nikals Schueler scored the guests first field goal at the 7,10 minute mark. Tuebingen got some solid offensive production from Hihn and Schueler, but couldn’t make any ground and get back into the game. Limburg kept involving Sherril as best they could and feeding him the ball. It also helped when role and bench player Norman Klima gave energy under the boards with an offensive rebound and put back as Limburg led nicely 57-44. After Schueler hit a 20 footer, Limburg closed out the third quarter with 8-0 run to lead 65-44. Limburg got 5 points from Stallbohm and a lay in from Kljaic. ‘We got more tired. We were missing many big guys including our Danish player. He was with the Pro A team. They won so it was worth it for him to be there’, stated Nico Hihn. ‘Our man to man worked. We continued to get KJ Sherrill (203-F/C-91, college: Augusta) the ball more and more. He is the best player in the league’, stressed Justin Stallbohm.
The Bona Baskets Limburg continued to control the game well in the fourth quarter, but lost some focus in the last three minutes. One would have thought that the guests would have totally caved in because of exhaustion, but instead it was Limburg that lost intensity allowing Tuebingen to go on a 11-0 run to close out the game. SV 03 Tigers Tuebingen got off to another slow start allowing Limburg to go on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 72-47. In the run Limburg got good support from KJ Sherrill who continued to own the paint area making a couple of buckets and Stallbohm made an easy lay up as he caught the guests napping making an easy basket on an in bounds pass. Limburg kept the pressure on executing on offense and playing good defense. Sherril continued to be a beast inside, but also stepped outside once and nailed a trey to give Limburg the 82-52 lead. At that point the game was over and Limburg lost concentration. Tuebingen then played their best basketball closing out the game with a 14-4 run. In the run the guests got most of their damage from German Nico Hihn who had 8 points and connected on two three’s. He finished the game with 25 points on 56% shooting from the field. He could easily play in the Pro B as he is a big talent, but has decided to play at the Regionalliga. He was a very important offense force on this day as he got little support from his teammates. ‘I take to heart having to have a lot of responsibility on offense. I have to do more on offense than others, but I feel that all can score well on our team’, stated Nico Hihn. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to stay concentrated when your up by 30 points. We gave some of our bench players like Mueller and Eduardo who did a good job’, stated Justin Stallbohm. The Bona Baskets Limburg were led by KJ Sherrill with 30 points and 14 boards. Noah Westerhaus added 23 points and Matje Kljaic 14 points and Justin Stallbohm had 13 points. The Bona Baskets Limburg shot 52% from the field and 33% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 16turnovers. SV 02 Tigers Tuebingen shot 34% from the field and 24% from outside and had 23 rebounds and 13 turnovers.