After the thrilling victory over top team Dresden Titans and then a free weekend, the EPG Baskets were brought back down to earth with a tough and unnecessary loss on the road in Erfurt last weekend. It was just one of those games where nothing worked on the offensive end as Koblenz shot only 18% from the parking lot and lost the rebound battle. They defended well, but when the offense isn’t clicking and shots aren’t falling, then it will be difficult to win. The good news for the EPG Baskets Koblenz was that they didn’t have to wait long for revenge as they could go into the short Christmas break with a win against them in their own living room. Honestly a team with the overwhelming talent and depth like the EPG Baskets Koblenz have should never lose to a team like the Basketball Lowen Erfurt. The day before Christmas Eve, the EPG Baskets Koblenz welcomed the Basketball Lowen Erfurt and finally got revenge after their disappointing 74-62 last weekend with a hard fought and well deserved 73-63 victory. For 30 minutes, it was a very even game where no club could break away, but in the fourth quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz took control playing their best quarter of defense. ‘We knew that this wouldn’t be an easy game. You can’t underestimate them. We didn’t try to do special things like we did in Erfurt, but tonight just played our game. When we play like that for 40 then we are strong and when we do that sooner or later teams will fall apart. We played our game and were solid and never got irritated’, stressed ex Ehingen forward Brian Butler (196-F-91). The Basketball Lowen Erfurt played a very strong defensive game for 30 minutes and in a few times had Koblenz reeling, but couldn’t take advantage and break away. In the fourth quarter, they caved in as Koblenz finally found a consistent offensive rhythm which they couldn’t control. ‘I knew this wouldn’t be an easy game. We knew that they would be ready for us and weren’t happy after losing to us last weekend. Saying that we had a long ride here and that key players were playing many minutes are baby excuses. Koblenz is a very good team. We have to perform a lot better. We had way too many defensive mental mistakes and couldn’t get the ball where we wanted to on offense. We didn’t shoot well as didn’t our key players. We missed many shots which gave them many opportunities for easy points’, stressed Basketball Lowen Erfurt head coach Uvis Helmanis.
The first quarter quickly demonstrated that this would be a defensive battle as no clubs got easy looks. The EPG Baskets Koblenz got on the board first with a trey from American Shembari Phillips and defensively they stopped Erfurt’s first 4 possessions. After a free throw the guests took their first lead 4-3 on a catch and pop jumper from crafty and ex Eimsbuetteler TV Hamburg guard Tyseem Lyles. Erfurt was defending really well being very compact and not allowing Koblenz to get good looks. But the good Koblenz defense allowed them to retake the lead with some easy transition baskets from Philipps and ex BBL player Dominique Johnson for the 9-5 advantage. The tide in the game would go back and forth as Erfurt went on a mini 7-0 run as they kept beating Koblenz on back door cuts as Dominykas Pleta scored twice on that play and Lyles hit another three pointer for the 12-9 lead. The EPG Baskets Koblenz recovered hitting Erfurt back with a 8-2 run to take the 17-14 lead after one quarter. Key in the run was new player Ugandan forward Emmanuel Womalla who gave energy at both ends with 2 buckets. ‘He is very athletic and is a real team player. He is also a fine defender and has accepted his role. He is a very important rotation player’, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein. Brian Butler made a tap in to end the first quarter. ‘We defended very well except for allowing 5 back door cuts. We didn’t penetrate enough. We controlled Edi very well’, expressed EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
The second quarter continued to be a real duel as there were 8 lead changes as no team could really get away from the other , but the EPG Baskets Koblenz had the slim 42-37 advantage at the break. A recipe for success for Koblenz was that they finally attacked the rim more and were rewarded as Butler, Meyer and Heckel executed while the guests got some baskets from Edi and ex Fraport Skyliner Noah Kamdem, but Koblenz led 25-22. A 8-0 run by the EPG Baskets Koblenz gave them the 29-22 lead as Brian Butler continued to be a work horse. ‘Erfurt was unconcentrated. We took advantage of it, but should of led by more than we did’, expressed EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein. Runs were being made left as right as the guests struck back with a 8-0 run to retake the 30-29 lead. In the run, Erfurt was aided by a Edi three pointer, two Lyles free throws and a massive one handed dunk by Noah Kamdem who out danced Leo Saffer on the baseline. Koblenz got away from their routine offense and played a little too fancy which led to turnovers on the run. The EPG Baskets Koblenz now kept control and the lead, but Erfurt stayed on their heels. Koblenz got some vital baskets from Saffer and Johnson (3/10) who had an off shooting night and Heckel for the 39-34 lead. A three point play by Kamdem cut the Koblenz lead to 39-37, but Saffer saved the best for last unleashing a bullet buzzer beater shot away from the basket that was thrown like a baseball pitcher as their was no rainbow in it. ‘It was a back and forth game. No team could get away form the other. We made easy mistakes, but still kept the lead. That last second shot by Saffer was a nice shot that had about a 1% chance of going in’, smiled EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
The third quarter continued to be a close fought affair as the EPG Baskets Koblenz had no offensive rhythm and the Basketball Lowen Erfurt couldn’t take advantage of it as they trailed 54-53 after 30 minutes. Ex Giessen guard Lucas Mayer got Koblenz on the board first with a transition bucket giving Koblenz the 44-37 advantage. But in the set play, the EPG Baskets Koblenz were playing far under their expectations and their three ball was nonexistent as brick after brick were being heaved up. The Basketball Lowen Erfurt took advantage of this going on a lethal 7-0 run to dead lock the contest at 44-44. In the run, Kamdem used his football like body to muscle home two points, Pleta nailed a trey and Lyles connected on a lay in. Ex Bremerhaven guard Marvin Heckel then drooped a rare three as Koblenz was shooting apathetic 2/17 from outside for the 47-44 lead. Erfurt continued to chip away and actually took the lead again getting to the free throw line with Kamdem and Edi baskets and the 51-49 advantage. Heckel gave Koblenz the lead back 52-51with another trey as he was the only stable shooter, but that was soon dissolved as German Jan Heber grabbed a loose ball and made the lay in for the 53-52 lead. But Estonian guard Indrek Sunelik ended the third quarter with a smart play scoring on an inbounds play under the Erfurt basket for the slim 54-53 lead. ‘We didn’t have concentration. Our three was instable and we didn’t have comfort in taking our shots. We were very lucky to have the lead. We didn’t have control of the game. Erfurt was more organized on offense and took better shots and finished better’, stated EPG baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
In the fourth quarter it was lights out for the Basketball Lowen Erfurt as the EPG Baskets Koblenz took control of the game and won. Even if ex Breitengussbach guard Miles Osei was able to score twice and match the two buckets of Sunelik I the first two minutes, it was the Koblenz Estonian guard who gave his team the needed energy to get their self-confidence up. With Koblenz having the tight 59-57 lead, they then slammed the door on the guests with a ruthless 12-0 run to lead 71-59 and decide the game. In the run it was ex easycredit BBL player Dominque Johnson who had been shut down on offense for 30 minutes, but had defended Erfurt’s best player Edi well finally found his shooting touch scoring 10 of his 11 game points nailing 2 three’s and four free throws while Butler made a pretty alley-oop dunk from the Heckel feed. Koblenz finally found their offensive touch and with every made shot heightened their self-confidence. Koblenz also raised their defensive intensity which Erfurt couldn’t match with their offense. The Basketball Lowen Erfurt did close out the game with a 6-2 run with baskets from Pleta, Heber and Kamdem, but it was too little too late. ‘We knew that if we would keep playing our defense then they would get tired. They have a short rotation and when we play high pressure defense, then they cave in. Everybody did a great job today no matter if they played 2 or 30 minutes’, stressed Brian Butler. ‘We did get tired. Our defensive intensity went down. We did accomplish one goal. We wanted to keep them under 12 points. That way we will be ahead of them in the even points’, stated Uvis Helmanis. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Marvin Heckel with 17 points and Brian Butler added 16 points. The Basketball Lowen Erfurt were led by Noah Kamdem with 20 points and Tysem Lyles and Guy Edi added 10 points a piece. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 42% from the field and 23% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen Erfurt shot 37% from the field and 24% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 23 turnovers.