After starting the season off perfect with a fantastic 6-0 record, the EPG Baskets Koblenz have suffered growing pains the last weeks losing two of their last three games. After being shell shocked in Oberaching, the club returned home and tore apart Hanau only to visit Orange Academy the next weekend and lose a defensive battle 66-54 shooting a miserable 25% from downtown. This weekend they had to contend with top team Dresden Titans who entered the game with a perfect 8-0 record and continue to shine with their offensive arsenal as they have scored 80 points or more in six games. The EPG Baskets Koblenz wanted to experience another fine home winning experience and were able to win their second game in a row in their new CGM arena, but had to withstand a fourth quarter run by the Dresden Titans and survived 85-71. In crunch-time the EPG Baskets Koblenz buckled down and got some late energy from Brain Butler who made some thunderous dunks to secure the win. After the win he was all smiles for everyone in the arena. ‘This was another big win for us. We once again heightened our game again. We had some injuries this week, but we sold ourselves very well and showed just what we are made of. Our big strength was our passion on defense. We show every week that we belong to the best defensive teams in the league. Our offense follows when we play good defense’, warned Brian Butler (196-F-91). The Dresden Titans made a furious come back, but weren’t rewarded at the end. ‘They were very athletic and physical something that we weren’t used to. Their physicality made us play hesitant on offense. They limited us to 4-5 passes and kept us out of our plays. We just couldn’t respond to how they played’, stressed Grant Teichmann.
The EPG Baskets exploded in the first 5 minutes and then lost focus on offense, but their consistent defense allowed them to keep their commanding lead. They didn’t have any of the Orange Academy woes in their mind as they erupted on the court in the first quarter taking a quick 15-3 lead. In the run the EPG Baskets Koblenz howed their lethal inside out game letting it rain three’s from Domnique Johnson, American Shembari Phillips and German Niclas Sperber while also getting baskets in the paint from German Moses Poelking, Johnson and Phillips. This offensive explosion shocked Dresden as they were unable to get into their sets and were forced to too tough shots by the Koblenz aggressive defense. The EPG Baskets Koblenz played as if they were on a mission and it was the final game of the playoffs. In the last 5 minutes, the EPG Baskets Koblenz lost focus on offense, but continued to play defense with passion and didn’t allow a Dresden field goal until the 9,13 minute mark. The Dresden Titans did a good job keeping Brian Butler in check, but he would have his coming out in the second quarter while Koblenz did a fine job keeping Teichmann and Georg Voigtmann in check. After 10 minutes the EPG Baskets Koblenz led 21-10. ‘We have had bad starts in most games this season. We knew today we had to get a better start and then everything would be easier for us. Today we were all ready and began aggressive’, stressed Brian Butler.
In the second quarter, the Dresden Titans began better and cut the Koblenz lead to 7 points, but then fans in the arena would witness the Brian Butler show as he would connect for 11 points and allow the EPG Baskets Koblenz to secure the comfortable 44-25 advantage at half-time. The Dresden Titans started with a positive 9-5 run to cut the Koblenz lead down to 26-19. Dresden began with more physicality as German big man veteran Max Von Der Wippel scored twice while ex Tigers Tuebingen forward Tanner Graham made a lay in and three pointer. Koblenz lost their rhythm on offense as the aggressive Dresden defense gave them fits. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz have so much talent and depth, that anyone can go off at any time. Brian Butler was often the first scoring option last season, but this season doesn’t have to be that guy anymore. Tonight his team needed him to step up and he did showing once again that the paint is his own stomping ground. He scored in a variety of ways displaying his moves and dunks. He also got support from ex Georgia Tech (NCAA) guard Shembari Phillips who blasted home two three’s. The EPG Baskets Koblenz continued to defend very well not allowing Dresden anything easy inside and guarded the three point line well. Butler’s invincible play was key for his team having the big lead at the break. ‘Today we wanted to get the ball inside a lot. I was aggressive and my teammates found me. I was able to use mismatches to my advantage. We stuck to the game plan and continued playing our game and moving the ball well’, stated Brian Butler.
In the third quarter the Dresden Titans were able to execute better on offense, but couldn’t make any ground on the EPG Baskets because they scored 28 points and held on to their massive lead 73-54 after 30 minutes. In the first few minutes, bot clubs found their range from outside as Grant Teichmann who had been very quiet in the first half connected as did Daniel Kirchner while for Koblenz, it was the hot hand of Phillips who always stepped up making two three’s, but Dresden still trailed 57-33. Even if Dresden was executing better, it was mostly Canadian Tanner gGaham who became the team’s almost only scoring option as his team was always finding him and he was able to provide a stable inside out game. Down the stretch of the third quarter Georg Voigtmann also began to find his game better making a basket and free throws, but Koblenz simply had too many scoring options that could execute as Butler was back off the bench and Marvin Heckel who had suffered blood poisoning only a few days earlier also scored. But the guy who always came in the clutch was Phillips who continued to knock down three’s as if it was the easiest task. ‘When Shembari is comfortable, he gives us so much. He is never afraid to take a shot. When he is ready, he can really hit the tough shot’, warned Brian Butler. Grant Teichmann ended the third quarter with a trey as he was getting warmed up for his personal fourth quarter finale. ‘We didn’t change much. We were motivated to keep our big lead’, expressed Brian Butler. ‘The third quarter was a game of runs. We played more free, but they continued to hit shots’, stressed Grant Teichmann.
In the fourth quarter basketball once again proved that it will always be a game of runs. The Dresden Titans had not played particularly well for 30 minutes and it was really only a matter of time before they would break out of their shell. The Dresden Titans broke out on a captivating 15-0 run cutting the Koblenz lead to 73-69 as Grant Teichmann led the way with 10 unanswered points. Dresden stepped up their defense stopping Koblenz on 11 possessions. Teichmann started off the run with a four point play which was followed by a trey by German Daniel Kirchner. Teichmann continued his offensive rampage connecting on two more treys and the Dresden defense was more aggressive and the Koblenz play reminded one of last year’s team were such lapses happened more regularly as the team forgot what team play was and chose 1-1 on play. ‘We were able to play our style. When we get stops then we can get out on transition. We were finally able to adjust, but it took us too long’, warned Grant Teichmann. The EPG Baskets finally got the monkey off their back scoring at the 3,25 minute mark as Lucas Mayer nailed a trey for the 76-69 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz then buckled down on defense and got 3 consecutive stops while on offense they executed getting Lay in’s von Poelking and Heckel to secure the victory. Koblenz finished strong after stopping Dresden’s run, they went on a 12-2 run. Koblenz got another trey from Philipps and 2 thunderous dunks from Brian Butler. ‘Runs happen in games. The question is always how does one react. We reacted well getting big plays and shots at the end’, said Brian Butler. ‘We made a nice run cutting their lead to 4 points, but they answered the bell. We couldn’t break their neck as they sustained our run. They hit shots and we couldn’t finish off the run’, explained Grant Teichmann. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Shembari Phillips with 23 points while Brian Butler added 22 points. The Dresden Titans were led by Tanner Graham with 20 points and Grant Teichmann added 16 points.