Winning streaks always come to an end even if nobody wanted it in Koblenz recently. A few days before 2023, the EPG Baskets Koblenz had to digest a tough 3 point loss to the undefeated Hanau White Wings. That gave the players a lot to think about over the new year. They didn’t have much time to think about their first loss of the season as they were back in action only 5 days later and came together and celebrated a huge 81-70 win on the road in Leitershofen. They had to refocus and met the Basketball Lowen Erfurt back in their own living room who were sporting a 5-7 record. Erfurt came to Koblenz having lost 4 of their last 5 games including a embarrassing 36 point loss to Coburg in their last game of 2022. They wanted to finally get on the winning track in 2023 and came close, but the EPG Baskets Koblenz pulling out a nail bitter 79-70 over the Basketball Lowen Erfurt. The EPG Baskets Koblenz controlled the first half, but totally stunk up the building in the third quarter and allowed the guests to take their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, but when it counted most, they executed in crunch-time. ‘We came out strong, but lost control in the second half. But luckly we refocused and locked in at the end. We fought hard and got buckets when we needed them’, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz guard Alani Moore II (178-PG-1998, college: Temple). The Basketball Lowen Erfurt gave all they could, but in the end couldn’t muster up the needed energy to gain stops. ‘We fought hard, but didn’t have the same energy that we had in the second half in the first half. We are working on trying to play consistent for 40 minutes. Our defensive effort showed in the second half that we can be the team we want to be in our mind. We were like 2 different teams tonight. It is still a work in progress’, stated Basketball Lowen Erfurt guard Tyseem Lyles.
Guy Landry Edi at the FT line
The first 3-4 minutes was a tug of war as the game was pretty even as both clubs found their rhythm fairly quickly as the EPG Baskets Koblenz led 9-7. Quick diminutive guard Alani Moore II was a spark as he was a pit bull on defense getting 2 steals and racking up 5 points while Germans Marvin Heckel and Moses Poelking scored. The guests got 5 points from their number one go to guy French forward Edi Guy Landry with 5 points while ex Fraport Skyliner Junior Noah Kamdem scored a basket. But then came the turning point of the first quarter as the EPG Baskets Koblenz closed out the first quarter with a swift and brutal 15-6 run to lead 24-13 after 10 minutes. In the run, Koblenz got vital production from ex easyCredit BBL player Dominique Johnson who supplied 7 points while Heckel hit 2 three’s and Leo Saffer made a big dunk. It seemed like with the injury to sniper Leon Friederici, Johnson felt the need to be extra aggressive and it paid off. Koblenz fine ball movement sparked by their aggressive defense which forced the guests to permanent contested shots was their recipe for success. ‘It was a good quarter. We weren’t that great on the box out, but we had very good motion on offense’, stated EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
Leo Saffer at the FT line
The EPG Baskets continued their domination in the second quarter despite not hitting shots as well anymore until the last 3 minutes where they allowed a Erfurt run to stay in the game. The EPG Baskets Koblenz kept up the pressure from the first quarter and cruised out on an overwhelming 14-6 run to extend their lead to 38-19. In the run Brian air Butler scored 5 points as he was aggressive and used his quickness and agility to get by Noah Kamdem, Dominique Johnson hit a trey and German Moses Poelking made a hard two handed dunk and also made a beautiful back door pass to Moore for the lay in which was the best ball movement of Koblenz up to that point. Koblenz continued to play strong defense with a high intensity and on offense were aggressive and made easy baskets. Koblenz had a little fortune that during the run, the guests missed a number of give me baskets. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz couldn’t hold their momentum as Erfurt got more aggressive and got to the free throw line as Edi and Lyles scored. Koblenz had 2 defensive lapses allowing Edi to fly in for an offensive rebound and put back and left a Jan Heber totally open to drill home the trey. Koblenz got a off balance jumper by Johnson and a Brian Butler basket as he executed the pick and roll perfectly with Marvin Heckel. ‘The first 5 minutes were good, but then we gave up the game. We weren’t mentally strong on defense and didn’t attack as aggressively anymore. We couldn’t match their physicality’, stated Thomas Klein. The difference in the game were the shooting percentages as Koblenz shot 50% from the field and Erfurt only shot 9% from outside while Koblenz also controlled the boards 23-19.
Tyseem Lyles from outside
The third quarter began like a horror show as there were 6 turnovers in the first 6 possessions in 1,03 minutes. It didn’t get any better for the EPG Baskets Koblenz after that either. The Basketball Lowen would explode for 29 points and after the turnover party went on a 4-0 run with baskets from Heber and Edi to cut the Koblenz lead down to 44-33. Johnson finally got Koblenz on the board with a runner at the 7,38 minute mark. Erfurt continued to execute as they got more aggressive getting to the foul line and got lay ins from Heber and ex Itzehoe German Aileu Ceesay. Both teams got to the 5 foul limit quickly so both teams shot free throws and Erfurt finally began to nail three’s as Lyles scored twice and Edi scored to cut the lead down to 55-50 The Basketball Lowen continued to pressure Koblenz and finally executed consistently on offense as Heber made a 20 footer, Edi made a jumper and Lyles a 20 footer to get their first lead of the game 58-57 after 30 minutes. ‘We had no communication and played slower than usual. We let them attack and we weren’t the aggressor’, said Alani Moore II. ‘We started to switch all pick and rolls and we picked up our effort and energy. We also executed better’, added Tysem Lyles.
Brian Butler with the hook shot
In the fourth quarter the Basketball Lowen continued to fight, but just couldn’t keep up their energy as the EPG Baskets Koblenz used their excellent 1-1 play in crunch-time by American Alani Moore II to get the lead and they then never looked back. Johnson began the fourth quarter with a pull up jumper giving Koblenz the 59-58 lead, but bang Erfurt struck back with a three from young German Leo Doring to steal the lead back at 61-59. After Johnson tied the game with a lay in, Ceesay gave Erfurt the lead back 63-61 with a lay in. Johnson continued to be the aggressor scoring his third basket in a row in the fourth quarter tying the game at 63-63 with a lay in. Edi and Heckel traded baskets and the game was dead locked at 65-65. Then came the turning point of the game as Dominique Johnso missed a dunk, but that led to a 15-5 Koblenz run to end the game. The missed dunk led to an offensive rebound and Moore lay in. Poelking them made a huge block which led to a Johnson trey and 70-65 advantage. Erfurt would stay strong getting a Edi trey to cut the Koblenz lead to 70-68, but Moore remained aggressive with an off balance shot and 72-68 lead. After Moore free throws which was 6 points in a row by him, Ceesay made an off balance shot to keep Erfurt alive trailing only 74-70. But the EPG Baskets then slammed the door shut with a commanding 5-0 run getting stops and free throws by Poelking, Moore and Johnson to win the game. ‘Erfurt fought back very hard. After a missed dunk like Johnson, you either lose the game mentally or let the arena carry you. The fans carried us and we were able to control game until the end. We were mentally and physically stronger at the end. Alani Moore II was the match winner. He had a do or die moment. He came back in the game with 4 fouls. But he played aggressive and helped us get win’, expressed Thomas Klein. ‘We were a bit fatigued at the end. We also made some mistakes that we didn’t do all game. They are a good game and punished us with our mistakes’, said Tyseem Lyles. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Dominque Johnson with 25 points. Alani Moore II added 17 points and Brian Butler 13 points while the Basketball Lowen Erfurt were led by Edi Guy Landry with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Tyseem Lyles added 14 points. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 44% from the field and 29% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen Erfurt shot 38% from the field and 27% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 18 turnovers.