It really doesn’t matter what is happening, if the city of Koblenz is experiencing some flooding or if the Covid infections suddenly rise, basketball life has been very pleasant for the hardcore fans as everything had been very rosy until last weekend. The 6-0 team experienced a shocking and surprising 87-64 drubbing on the road at the hands of the TSV Tropics Oberaching. The number two team in the Pro B south couldn’t let it rain three’s and they gave up a disappointing 22 turnovers while allowing sniper and captain Janosh Kogler to play his solid offensive game and allowed ex BBL player Peter Zeis to get hot from downtown. The 6-1 EPG Baskets Koblenz wanted to begin a winning streak and faced off against the 1-3 White Wings Hanau who had began the season off on the wrong foot. 900 fans showed up to celebrate the first game of the EPG Baskets Koblenz in the beautiful state of the art CGM arena and weren’t disappointed as they witnessed a Sunday afternoon scoring power that was helped by a strong defensive effort as they destroyed the White Wings Hanau 84-54. After a big win a happy Brian Butler explained why the team was so dominating. ‘It was important for us to show a reaction after the loss last weekend. We didn’t defend the way we know how last weekend. Today we kept our zone as small as possible and gave up the open shots. We all played for each other. We are all one big family and that showed today. There are no ego’s or 1-1 play on the team. We always try to win as a team’, stressed 2017 easyCredit BBL dunk champion Brian Butler. Hanau had problems all day long against the Hanau zone and coughed up 23 turnovers which led to the big loss. ‘We just weren’t there from the start. We began slow. There zone kept us down. They always had 4 guys in the paint and we couldn’t hit our shots’, explained ex Bowling Green State University (NCAA) player JD Tisdale.
The White Wings Hanau began with a quick trey from German Philip Hecker, but it didn’t take Koblenz long to get their offense going as they had their three point shooting on as German Niclas Sperber scored as did ex BBL player Dominique Johnson and 16 year phenom Jamaal Phatty. Two of the three were bank shots as Hanau trailed 11-5. The offense was flowing and the zone was a rock for Koblenz. The only White Wings player that was really dangerous was athletic forward JD Tisdale as he was difficult to control. Koblenz continued to up the lead as their offense continued to execute as Phatty scored again on a huge one handed stuff as did Johnson from outside giving Koblenz the 18-8 advantage. A big strength on the day for Koblenz was their deep bench as guys like Brian Butler and Indrek Sunelik came off the bench fresh and gave massive minutes. Butler made a lay in and free throws and Sunelik a lay in and three pointer as the EPG Baskets Koblenz led 26-15 after 10 minutes. ‘Our focus on the game plan was to be better than last week. We showed where the hammer was and put a stamp on it’, warned Brian Butler.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz shifted up a few more gears in the second quarter and were able to continue to score at ease and added more intensity on defense to win the quarter 23-14 and lead 49-29 at the break. The Koblenz defense stopped Hanau’s first 7 possessions and forced them to 4 turnovers. Offensively they rushed a bit getting only 4 points from Butler and ex Eisbaeren Bremerhaven point guard Marvin Heckel (190-PG-97) to lead 30-15. Hanau finally received their first bucket of the quarter at the 5,55 minute mark as their go to guy JD Tisdale scored inside. The White Wings Hanau then found a little daylight as Hecker made a 4 point play and German Niklas Krause scored to cut the Koblenz lead down to 32-23. But that didn’t disturb Koblenz as they wiped that little run to the side and exploded for 12 unanswered points to extend their lead to 44-23. Another big strength in this game for the EPG Baskets was their ability to easily stop little runs from getting to big and then bang making their own run to up the lead again. In the run, they got two huge three’s from ex Georgia Tech (NCAA) guard Shembari Philipps who had a very efficient game netting 12 points in 13 minutes while adding 4 boards and 3 dimes, a 20 footer from German Lucas Meyer and 4 points from Marvin Heckel. Hanau got baskets in the last minutes from JD Tisdale and German Matthias Fichtner, but Koblenz countered with another trey from Philipps and a 20 footer from Heckel as they had the comfortable 49-29 lead after 20 minutes. The Koblenz defense continued to be their staple as Hanau couldn’t buy a basket inside against the wall. ‘We knew that if we could play solid defense then we could go and run and get easy baskets. If defense works so does our offense’, said Brain Butler.
In the third quarter the EPG Baskets were able to continue to heighten their game as they were able to lead by as much as 34 points. They once again showed that they could be able to react to some adversary against them and then just explode with their game. Hanau began well with a rapid 4-0 run as Tisdale made a steal and hard one handed dunk and Hecker used a mismatch inside to score over the young and inexperienced Jamaal Phatty to cut the Koblenz lead down to 49-33. But then the EPG Baskets Koblenz demonstrated just how lethal their offensive attack can be as they unleashed a nasty 13-0 run to extend their lead to 62-33. In the run they got solid support from German Niclas Sperber who sports a white hair dew nailed two three’s, while Philipps and Heckel made jumpers and Phatty a lay in. Phatty continues to shine despite his 16 years. He got the green light and confidence from head coach Mario Dugandzic from the first day and one can see that he is a big fan of his. The young German is allowed to make mistakes and get the minutes that regular 16 year old’s don’t see in the Pro B. He finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 4 steals in 21 minutes. ‘Jamaal is my small brother. He works very hard and wants to get better. We try to compensate from his defense. He is a big talent that needs to see minutes’, warned Brian Butler. Down the stretch, Hanau could muster little offense and really only had Tisdale who could break through the zone and score with his individual class scoring 6 points. Koblenz continued to get ample support from everyone including Brian Butler who scored twice in the paint. Last season he was the only consistent big time scorer, but this season his work load is a lot less mainly because there are two other Butler’s on the team in terms of being able to have huge nights each night with Johnson and Heckel. He finished with 13/5/2 stats in 16 minutes. ‘I do what the team needs me to do this season. If that means playing 40 minutes of defense and scoring 2 points then I will do it. We have a team this season like I did in Elchingen where the team was stacked. A good team is when you never know who can score 20 points on a night. I have no problem with my role. I don’t need to have the ball in my hands all the time’, warned Brian Butler. The EPG Baskets Koblenz led 71-40 after 30 minutes. ‘We stuck to our game plan of doing what we need to do for 40 minutes to be successful. We had great ball movement and there was no ego play. When we get stops, it makes the offense easier’, explained Brian Butler. ‘We had bad turnovers which affected us mentally. We began well, but then they went on that run and our momentum went down’, remembered JD Tisdale.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz let up a bit in the fourth quarter losing it 14-13. When you lead by 30 points, it can happen that a team loses a little focus. The EPG Baskets Koblenz began well going on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 77-42. Butler made a hard dunk, Phatty a reverse dunk and Meyer a step back jumper. Nobody was going to take this win from the EPG Baskets Koblenz and they shifted a few gears down. The White Wings Hanau finished the game with a positive 12-7 run. In the run the guests got good support from 20 year old ex Hakro Merlins youth player German Stefan Vasovic who contributed 7 points. Hecker also added 5 points as the sniper nailed another trey and also used a mismatch again for an easy bucket. Butler helped his efficiency and stat line with two more baskets inside. ‘We lost a little of focus in the fourth quarter. It’s hard to be focused when your up by 30 points. Our next step as a team is to keep giving gas in the fourth quarter when were up by so much’, commented Brian Butler. ‘We showed moral and never gave up. We want to take this energy into the next game’, added JD Tisdale. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Marvin Heckel with 22 points. Brian Butler added 13 points and Shembari Philips 12 points while the White Wings Hanau were led by JD Tisdale with 22 points while Philip Hecker added 14 points. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 55% from the field and 42% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the White Wings Hanau shot 41% from the field and 29% from outside an dhad 22 rebounds and 23 turnovers.