Fellbach is one of those teams that is slated to be one of the favorites for the Regionalliga South-West crown this season, but instead of having a possible 4-0 record, they were dumpling around in position 7. They have been up and down winning two shootouts with 100 plus points and then losing two defensive battles averaging only 53 points per game. They have been very unpredictable which can be very dangerous for teams. While the Bona Baskets Limburg are also a team that could give a lot of teams problems and be in the fight for the top three spots, but have also underachieved so far having a 1-3 record and were in 11th place. They returned home after sustaining a tough 93-72 loss in Kronberg and showed a lot better performance breaking open the game in the third quarter thanks to the boost of energy from Noah Westerhaus (200-PF-98, agency: Gamble Sports Management) and then cruising to the win 91-76 over the Fellbach Flashers. After the big win KJ Sherrill who didn’t have his explosive scoring game, but still filled the stat sheet nicely with 17/11/5/1/1 stats reflected on the victory. ‘Our zone did a good job recognizing their best shooter Lars Berger. We always knew where he was on the court and all his shots were contested’, stressed ex Koblenz forward KJ Sherril. Fellbach stayed with Limburg well in the first half, but in the second half didn’t execute as well on offense anymore and when they did get behind couldn’t get over the hump anymore. They also averaged giving 65 points coming into the game, but couldn’t get consistent stops all night long ‘We didn’t defend well. Our communication and help side wasn’t good. I have to give credit to Limburg for being able to get to the basket and score’, added ex easyCredit BBL player Kostas Karamatskos.
The first quarter was pretty even as no team could escape from the other and go on a run as there were 6 lead changes. Fellbach had the first lead getting baskets from ex Coburg German Daniel Eisenhardt and ex Arizona Christian (NAIA) forward Anton Ivy, but the Bona Baskets also found their offensive rhythm quickly getting a trey from captain Justin Stallbohm for the 8-5 advantage. But Fellbach swiped the lead back getting two buckets from Ivy who has found no adjustment period needed getting adjusted to the European game as he displayed a lot of aggressiveness as Fellbach led 13-10. But Limburg remained in offensive striking mode getting the lead back at 14-13 thanks to a Westerhaus left handed hook shot and a Sherril put back. Fellbach was getting many easy baskets inside as their three point game was non existent while Limburg played with a high intensity on offense. Both teams got the lead back again with three’s from Stallbohm and 31 year old Lithuanian Vilius Sermokas who came into the game shooting 50% from the parking lot for the 20-17 lead. The Fellbach Flashers held the lead to the end as Limburg played catch up basketball, but were supported by baskets from Sherrill who scored twice including on the pick and roll with Stallbohm as the game was deadlocked at 24-24 after 10 minutes. ‘Fellbach came out with a lot of energy and we couldn’t stop their transition. Once we stopped the ball, it slowed them down a bit’, stated KJ Sherrill. Both teams shot at a high click from the field at 50%, while Limburg shot 42% from outside and Fellbach a pathetic 16,7 from outside while Limburg had the 7-5 rebound edge.
The contest remained very tight until the break as no team led by more than 5 points. There were 4 lead changes, but the Bona Baskets took control at the end taking the lead into the break. Ex Croatian U-18 national player Matej Kljaic had been quiet on the scoring front in the first quarter, but got more aggressive in the second quarter scoring twice giving Limburg the 29-24 lead as his penetration is very difficult to contain as he has lightening speed. But basketball will always be a game of runs and almost as rapidly as Kljaic scored, Fellbach struck back stealing the lead back with two three’s from Sermokas and young German Jovan Vukovic for the 30-29 advantage. After getting many easy touches around the basket, Fellbach finally got their three game going. After Sherrill hit his bread and butter a 15 footer and giving Limburg the lead back, it was Fellbach again who retrieved the lead back with a Ivy reverse lay up and Berger lay up. Fellbach was breaking the Limburg zone and getting easy baskets leading 34-31. But Limburg then woke up going on a 17-7 run to lead 47-41 at half-time and they would never look back again. In the run they got a big three pointer from Westerhaus and vital production from German Norman Klima who is playing his 9th season in Limburg and never averaged more than 5,0ppg in a Regionalliga season. He dropped a massive trey and made a tap in at the buzzer. ‘We played good team basketball and just trusted each other and helped each other’, stated KJ Sherril. The Bona Baskets continued to shoot very well at 40% from the field and outside while Fellbach upped their three point shooting to 26%. Limburg also controlled the boards 18-13.
In the third quarter the Fellbach Flashers stayed close to Limburg, but half way through the Bona Baskets erupted on a 10-0 run to break open the game and led by as much as 14 points. Fellbach was playing sound inside out basketball and still continued to get easy baskets inside. Daniel Eishardt scored twice and Tauras Ulevicius nailed a trey and scored a runner to trail Limburg only 51-50. Fellbach didn’t look in bad shape, but as is usually the case, a run suddenly comes which partially paralyzes the team. The Bona Baskets struck with a blow scoring 10 unanswered points and grabbing the 61-50 lead. Noah Westerhaus exploded scoring 7 points in a row. He showed why he is a good inside out player scoring in the paint, hitting a three and then scoring a two handed dunk on transition. Stallbohm added a trey for good measure. Westerhaus showed brilliant aggressiveness while the Limburg zone stopped Fellbach making their game static. Fellbach finally executed on offense again getting a three pointer from Lars Berger who had a rough 3/11 shooting night from outside and a lay in from young German Mark Golder who started his career in Munich at IBAM. But the Bona Baskets continued to execute smoothly on offense getting two more buckets from Kljaic and a thunderous two handed stuff from Westerhaus for the 69-55 lead. Limburg had control and the momentum of the game. Fellbach wasn’t totally gone as they closed out the third quarter with a 5-2 run getting another trey from Sermokas and lay in from Berger to trail only 71-61. ‘We know that when somebody has the hot hand, we should keep feeding him. We know what Noah is capable of and he showed it. Kljaic also played exceptional. He had told us at half-time that we need to win together. It wasn’t about you or I. We trusted each other’, stressed KJ Sherril. ‘We weren’t running our plays offense and doing too much 1-1. We missed free throws and they hit big shots. We also had bad shot selection shooting too quickly’, stated Kostas Karamatskos.
The Fellbach Flashers gave some resistance in the first minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Bona Baskets Limburg then went on a lethal 8-0 run to decide the game. Berger and Golder scored important baskets to cut the Limburg lead to 74-67, but the Bona Baskets didn’t looked rattled by this come back attempt. Limburg continued to play their game and was supported greatly by their great point guard Matej Kljaic who scored 5 points in a row. He came into the contest shooting only 20%, but hit timely trey’s when the team needed them. Stallbohm did the same also scoring from down town as Limburg led 82-67. Fellbach also had a lot of mis fortune as nothing fell for them anymore. Here and there Fellbach scored, but were never able to get it under double digits again. A Ulevicius jumper and Berger jumper cut the Limburg lead to 84-74, but Limburg closed out the game in style getting another lay in from Westerhaus and another three from Stallbohm as he shot a potent 62% to end the game. ‘We knew that we had to keep the lead. They got fatigued and coach Danny told us to keep being aggressive and run our plays. Plus Matje Kljaic was our floor general and did a great job running the game. We all listened to him’, said KJ Sherril. ‘It was tough not playing with a real big man and having to go against their two bigs. We had a 7 man rotation and got tired. We didn’t have the energy from the start’, explained Kostas Karamatskos. The Bona Baskets Limburg were led by Matej Kljaic and Noah Westerhaus with 25 points apiece. KJ Sherrill added 17 points while the Fellbach Flashers were led by Lars Berger with 16 points while Tauras Ulevicius had 14 points and Vilius Sermokas 13 points. The Bona Baskets Limburg shot 52% from the field and 46% from outside and had 31 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the Fellbach Flahers shot 46% from the field and 35% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 12 turnovers.