If you’re a basketball fanatic living in Koblenz, the domination of the EPG Baskets has been refreshing and enjoyable this season. The club led by new coach Pat Elzie keep blowing away team by team week by week. Last week they destroyed the mighty FC Bayern Munich by 45 points, before that Erfurt actually only lost by 20 and before that Ludwigsburg were crushed by 56 points. There are seemingly no more close game in Koblenz. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz aren’t the only team making waves in the Pro B south, but if you have been in a closet then you may not have noticed that White Wings Hanau was actually sporting the best record in all of Pro B with an incredible 11-0 record. They also had been blowing out opponents at an alarming rate, but not as badly as Koblenz had. They are without a doubt the surprise team of the season as they are wining with a team that on paper couldn’t match the talent that Koblenz had. Hanau averaged 90 points per game and gave up only 73 points and were led by a trio of Furlong, Albrecht and Martinez who aren’t necessarily house hold names. On a very warm late December evening, the EPG Baskets Koblenz met the undefeated Hanau club and for a big change had to play catch up for 40 minutes something they weren’t used to and almost made it over the hump in the last minute but lost a heartbreaker 86-83 to the White Wings Hanau. After the tough loss, EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Pat Elzie was very disappointed that his club couldn’t show a better performance. ‘Hanau played a good game and were prepared for us. We weren’t present in the first half. We had too many unneeded turnovers and missed so many easy shots. We played better defense in the second half, but it was too late. We had a lot of difficulty stopping the drives’, stressed Pat Elzie. The White Wings Hanau demonstrated from the get go that they were ready to play and just played consistent team basketball for 40 minutes. ‘It was a real dog fight. It came down to a couple of seconds at the end and we did all we could to get the win. We knew that they had never had to come back this season, but they played with a lot of heart. Bruno Albrecht (189-SG-2001) shot well as usual. We played well inside and our guards played well at both ends.Everyone contributed tonight’, smiled Bubba Furlong. ‘I’m at a loss of words. It was so nice playing in front of a full house. It was more sad that we lost’, added Brian Butler.
Bruno Albrecht from outside
Before the EPG Baskets Koblenz had even blinked, the guests already led 7-0. Koblenz looked like they crawled out of the wrong end of the bed. Big rugged center Bubba Furlong began with a hook shot over Butler and ex Rhondorf sniper Bruno Albrecht added 5 points. Hanau played smart finding their spots while Koblenz had little intensity. The EPG Baskets finally got on the scoreboard at the 7,14 minute mark as ex easyCredit BBL player Dominque Johnson dropped a trey. Koblenz slowly began to find their game while Hanau had a lapse which allowed the home team to crawl back. Butler was really key in this phase as he made a dunk and a heads up play catching an airball for the lay in and Koblenz trailed 9-7. Butler had a great game with 17 points and 14 boards and won the duel against Furlong in the paint as he only had 10 points and 3 rebounds, but the American had his moments against Butler. Butler was disappointed after the loss and wasn’t impressed by the battle with the best center in the Pro B. ‘It was a normal match up for me. Our game plan was to get him in foul trouble and we did. We had a lot of trash talk, but it was nothing special’, said Brian Butler. But Hanau found back to their game and went on a 8-3 run to lead 17-11. In the run they got key free throws from Bruno Albrecht, Philipp Hecker and Philipp Walz as well as an old school hook shot from big Soren Urbansky. After 10 minutes the White Wings Hanau led 19-14. ‘Hanau played very clever and executed their set play. We weren’t attacking the rim aggressively and couldn’t execute the easy things’, stated EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
Marvin Heckel at the FT line
In the second quarter the White Wings Hanau continued to keep the lead and led by as much as 9 points, but couldn’t completely shake the EPG Baskets. Even if Koblenz was inconsistent, they would have some positive spurts here and there as American Alani Moore contributed a trey and German forward Moritz Huebner supplied a 20 footer as they trailed only 20-19. But the White Wings Hanau continued to execute at a good rate while defending well and went on a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 30-22. In the run, the guests recieved solid support from German Sebastian Brach who scored twice inside while Bubba Furlong made a tip in and ex Pro A player Tim Martinez also scored with a lay in. The White Wings Hanau were seeking the 1-1 play and executed with this annoying self-confidence and high rate of execution that must of given Pat Elzie severe head aches. The EPG Baskets continued to fight and on offense searched for better shots. They retaliated going on a 6-2 run to Trail Hanau only 32-28 as Brian Butler scored in traffic, Johnson made free throws and Niclas Sperber scored on transition something Hanau did well taking away in the first half. Koblenz wasn’t able to hold this momentum as Hanau closed out the second quarter going on a lethal 9-1 run to lead 41-29 at the break. Hanau continued to play smart getting a lay in from Urbansky against the zone, a catch and pop jumper from Sebastian Brach and 4 of 5 free throws from Bruno Albrecht who was tearing apart the EPG Baskets Koblenz. ‘Albrecht was so calm and nothing rattled him. He always made the big plays. We had no rhythm. This was our worst half of the season. Hanau played at a high level on offense and were physical on defense. We took way to many unqualified shots and were starting to force things’, expressed Thomas Klein.
Bruno Albrecht at the FT line
In the third quarter both teams combined for 51 points, but Hanu still kept their nose in front and the EPG Baskets Koblenz couldn’t get over the hump. Pat Elzie must of told his boys something right, because they came back on the court reborn and rattled off a rapid 9-0 run in only 1,22 minutes to cut Hanau’s lead down to 41-38. In the run, Koblenz got support from Leon Friederici who supplied 5 points while Johnson made a lay in and Moritz Huebner scored on transition. ‘We were more physical and were able to play transition. We also went to get the rebound. We showed what is possible in a minute of play. The arena got warm’, said Thomas Klein. But the guests showed how quickly basketball can be a game of runs as they slapped Koblenz back with a 8-0 run to lead 49-38. In the run the guests got back to back three’s from Bruno Albrecht and Philipp Hecker while Walz made a big dunk. The EPG Baskets Koblenz did a better job taking away the drive, but couldn’t stop the three. Now the game really turned into a game of runs as the EPG Baskets countered with a quick 8-2 run to be back in the game. In the run, Koblenz got continued good play from Brian Butler who scored 2 baskets while Johnson made a catch and pop shot and Alani Moore connected on a runner as Hanau led only 51-46. But once again as Koblenz had the momentum on their side, it was ripped away again as the guests had a good offensive phase scoring 10 points leading 61-52. They hit 2 more three’s as Albrecht and Walz connected and also got 2 clutch buckets from Urbansky who was the beast and gave excellent support for Furlong who was in foul trouble. Butler continued to be hot scoring twice including a monster tip in dunk. ‘Soren had a big night. I knew he would get the job done when I was in foul trouble. He took over the game’, commented Bubba Furlong. In the last minute, Sebastian Brach made a trey while Moore made a step back jumper and Friederici a three pointer to trail only 64-57. ‘We executed well on offense and continued to battle on the defensive end. I think that we defended so well because we followed the scouting report and knew their plays’, stated Bubba Furlong. ‘We took away their drive and what do they do? They hit unbelievable deep three’s. We gave up easy baskets and couldn’t control Bruno Albrecht‘, stated Thomas Klein.
Brian Butler driving to the hole
The EPG Baskets Koblenz never gave up and just continued to chip away at the Hanau lead in the fourth quarter and it came down to a last second shot for overtime that didn’t want to fall. The EPG Baskets Koblenz began well going on a 4-0 run to trail only 64-61 as Heckel made a runner and little used Leo Saffer a dunk and suddenly the arena was boiling. But as so often happened in the game, the EPG Baskets once again were so close, but couldn’t get over the hump as the guests strolled out on a 9-3 run to lead 73-64. After another deep trey from Albrecht, the White Wings Hanau showed again why they are such a great paint team as Urbansky scored twice and Furlong once. Again it was time for Koblenz to rally and they went on a 6-0 run to trail only 73-70. Leon Friederici supplied 4 points as he found his spots and Heckel remained aggressive and made 2 free throws. But Koblenz had mental lapses and allowed a 7-0 run. Two baskets from Hanau led to 2 forced shots that were missed. Hanau got continued big support from Albrecht with 5 points and lay in’s from Walz and Urbansky as Hanau led comfortable 82-70 with 3,18 to play. Koblenz never gave up and smacked Hanau with a brutal 8-0 run as they stepped up their defense got steals that led to easy baskets. Friederici once again had the hot hand supplying 6 points while Johnson made a lay in as Koblenz trailed only 82-78. Furlong stopped the run with a bucket as Hanau led 84-78. With a minute to go, Koblenz got back to back baskets from Johnson and Friederici as Hanau led only 84-82 with 33 seconds remaining. With 9 seconds remaining, Brian Buttler made only 1 of 2 free throws. Walz made 2 free throws for the 86-83 lead. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had one more attempt for OT, but missed. ‘We took the mistakes off the table in crunch-time. We cut down on the easy mistakes in the third quarter. Walz made a big rebound to help secure the win’, stressed Bubba Furlong. ‘I give a lot of respect to Hanau. We had an uncontrollable fight. We had too many passive plays which allowed easy baskets. The game was lost in the first 3 quarters’, stressed Thomas Klein. The White Wings Hanau were led by Bruno Albrecht with 29 points. Soren Urbansky added 14 points and Phillipp Walz and Philipp Hecker had 11 points a piece while the EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Leon Friederici with 20 points while Brian Butler added 17 points and 143 boards. The White Wings Hanau shot 48% from the field and 31% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 46% from the field and 21% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 14 turnovers