After a slow start into the season the Dragons Rhondorf are starting to find their game despite being plagued with injuries and those growing pains that a very young team usually have. After losing their first two games by 33 and 40 points, they finally escaped their rut and have won two of their last three wins winning in exciting fashion against the TKS 49ers by one point and then beat Cologne on the road and had a 2-3 record meeting fifth place team BSW Sixers who had a 3-2 record. The guests entered the game having lost two of their last three games and weren´t playing that bad basketball, but lost some tough close games against top teams Wolmirstedt and Munster. With darkness not quite there yet near buzzer time and the creepy and goolish Halloween creatures lurking around somewhere outside, the Dragons Rhondorf were in no mood of showing horrifying play, but continue their winning streak at home. But unfortunately for them costly mistakes in the last few minutes and failed execution cost the Dragons Rhondorf a bitter 81-76 loss to the BSW Sixers. The guests controlled the game for three quarters, but in the fourth quarter the Dragons made a furious comeback, but couldn´t pull out the win. ”Rebounding was a key reason why we lost in Munster. We wanted to rebound better today. Our will to rebound was there. We knew that if we moved the ball well then we would get our shots. We played with more intensity on defense than we usually do”, stated assistant coach Tom Walther. The Dragons Rhondorf continue to improve and play better, but inexperience played a major part in crunch-time. “I thought that we played well as a team. We had some stretches where we fought well against their runs. We had too much 1-1 play at the end”, stated ex Cal Poly American Will Christmas.
The BSW Sixers needed little time to get their offense cooking as they sped out on a rapid 14-3 run. In the run they were sparked by hot shooting from Danish national player Frederik Rungby and ex Bremerhaven guard Vincent Friederici who connected on two trey´s. Ex Alba Berlin guard Evans Rapieque also executed on a pretty floater. The Dragons Rhondorf played with little intensity and couldn´t find an offensive rhythm while the guests controlled the boards. After a Dragons Rhondorf time out, it was 28 year old veteran Paul Albrecht that got more aggressive on offense and steered two baskets home in the paint while ex Rostock guard Nicolas Bucholz made a energetic two handed dunk trailing only 20-9. German Oshane Drews also gave some fire power scoring twice including a two handed dunk and a finger tip role in as he let his incredible 1-1 skills take control. After 10 minutes the BSW Sixers had the 20-15 advantage. The guests were shooting over 50% from the field and outside while the Dragons were struggling while the guests were dominating the boards. “We began well, but we then had problems. We became too sure of ourselves and then let up. But we still stuck together well as a team to combat their run”, stressed BSW Sixers assistant coach Tom Walther.
In the second quarter the BSW Sixers kept the lead, but also had to brush off some Rhondorf comeback attempts. Both teams traded three pointers as Friederici and Nikola Petojevic hit. Then Sixers Lithuanian point guard Lukas Kazlauskas got aggressive scoring twice with a 20 footer and a left handed lay in. His drive was very difficult to stop as his high energy play kept the Dragons off guard all game long. The Dragons then found some daylight as Buchholtz nailed a three pointer and the duo of Oshane Drews and Ousmane Ndiaye combined on a beautiful alley-op dunk cutting the Sixers lead to 27-23. The young player from Senegal snuck back door and scored. “That was a play that we put in this week. We place a screen at the top and Oshane made the perfect pass letting Ousmane get it at the rim”, stated Will Christmas. “It was good timing. Drews is a really good passer”, added Ousmane Ndiaye. But the Dragons Rhondorf were unable to get stops allowing the guests to keep the lead. The BSW Sixers continued to get good production from Kazlauskas and ex Rhondorf forward Robin Danes was very strong getting an offensive rebound and putback as the guests still led soundly 33-28. The BSW Sixers continued to keep up the pressure going on a 9-3 lead to extend their lead to 42-31. The guests continued to get vital production in the paint as ex Alba Berlin center Hendrik Warner scored twice and Robin Danes also showed his inside out play nailing a three pointer. But the Dragons didn´t wilt, but closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run as Petojevic scored inside always using his brutal physicality to his advantage and Buchholz dropped another trey as the Dragons Rhondorf trailed only 42-36 at the break. “We had a good balance between two point and three point baskets. Our good rebounding also allowed us to keep the lead”, expressed Tom Walther. The shooting percentage of the BSW Sixers went down, while the Dragons Rhondorf hit 4 additional three´s to up their shooting percentages. The guests continued to have the overwhelming rebound edge at 29-14 while both teams took good care of the ball
In the third quarter the BSW Sixers continued to keep the lead as the Dragons continued to fight back, but had way too many turnovers. The guests began with a slick 6-2 run as Danes, Rungby and Warner all scored for the Sixers 48-38 lead. Marek Kotieno and Bruno Albrecht scored, but couldn´t make up any ground as the BSW Sixers continued to score at ease in the paint as Warner and Friederici scored for the 54-43 lead. The biggest two problems of the Dragons Rhondorf were pathetic turnovers and giving up easy baskets. The guests continued to punish Rhondorf for every stupid turnover while Kazlauskas was doing a great job controlling the game for the guests. The guests got some key baskets from Rapieque and Friederici, but Rhondorf remained on their heels getting three´s from Buchholz, Paul Albrecht and Bruno Albrecht to trail only 60-54. The hot shooting just wouldn´t be rewarded with defensive stops as the BSW Sixer guards Kazlauskas and Rapieque continued to be aggressive and score at ease holding the comfortable 65-57 advantage after 30 minutes. Both teams had solid shooting percentages while the guests still had total control of the boards while both teams more than doubled their turnovers. “We had problems against Wolmirstedt and Munnster and allowed them to come back after having a weak third quarter. We wanted to stay strong like in the first few minutes of the game”, said Lukas Kazlauskas.
In the fourth quarter the Dragons Rhondorf came back and took the lead, but let the game slip away in the last minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf came out on fire as they wanted that lead back so badly. They began with a brutal 9-0 run stealing the lead back at 66-65. Petojevic showed he can be laid back and hit three´s as he made two while Paul Albrecht also scored again. The lead rapidly went back to the BSW Sixers as Robin Danes hit a three, but the reliable three pointer of Buchholz was still there as he connected on his 5th three for the 71-68 advantage. The lead bounced back and forth now as Hendrik warner continued to annoy the Dragons inside with back to back buckets and the 72-71 lead. The Dragons continued to battle and would regain the lead one more time as Oshane Drews made a nifty spin move getting around Friederici on the base line for the 73-72 lead. But the BSW Sixers got the lead back and didn´t give it back again as Friederici made free throws and Kazlauskas made a 20 footer for the 77-73 lead. Rhondorf couldn´t execute at the end as Drews failed twice. Buchholz made three free throws for trail 79-76, but he couldn´t send the game into overtime with a last three pointer attempt. Friederici sealed the win with free throws. “We did a good job getting to the rim while missing some open shots. We fought hard and defense was the key at the end”, said Lukas Kazlauskas. “Our inexperience cost us at the end. Too many guys wanted to make the winning play instead of running the offense and getting the good shot”, stated Will Christmas. The BSW Sixers were led by Vincent Friederici with 16 points. Evans Rapieque added 15 points and Hendrik Warner 14 points while the Dragons Rhondorf were led by Nicholas Buchholz with 20 points while Nikola Petojevic had 18 points. The BSW Sixers shot 47% from the field and 33% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 42% from the field and 37% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 19 turnovers.