The Dragons Rhondorf continue to search for consistency. The ex pro A team began the season strong winning 4 of their first 5 games and showing no remorse on the road but haven’t been as lucky since mid November as since they have ridden a 5-4 record. They came into 2023 losing a tough nail bitter against Vechta 2, but last week found revenge against the RheinStars Cologne who had destroyed them at home 83-59. The Dragons continue to play with a 7 man rotation and so far everything is functioning. They met the 5-9 Iserlohn Kangaroos who had a positive 4-3 road record and were a way better team than what their record showed. They lost 3 very close games and played top team Sixers tough both times they met. It is no secret that the pro B is stuffed with many top guards and this weekend could have been the next great battle between Devon Goodman and Toni Prostran, but the latter had knee problems and couldn’t play. But the guests didn’t really need Prostran as they did fine without him playing tough for 3 quarters and then let Mr money ball Marko Boksic (203-PF-1993, agency: PEPI SPORT) take control in the fourth quarter and buckled down on defense to pull out the 74-68 victory. ‘We played tough all game. We kept playing hard and once our shots started to fall, the basket began to look bigger. We did a good man taking Goodman away from his strengths and stayed consistent down the stretch’, stressed Iserlohn guard Michael Cubbage. The Dragons Rhondorf had signed last season’s top scorer Mubarak Salami, but he only played a minute and couldn’t be a factor. The Dragons had problems taking care of the ball and executing consistently all night long that ultimately also cost them the game in crunch-time. ‘Little mistakes brought us down and we just didn’t execute well and sometimes forgot to play together as a team’, stated Mubarak Salami.
Emil Loch lay in
The first quarter had 2 stories as the Dragons Rhondorf began with a huge run only to watch Iserlohn end the first quarter with a big run and led only 22-16. The Dragons Rhondorf jumped all over the Iserlohn Kangaroos and exploded to lead 17-4. The Dragons found their offense rhythm quickly playing sound inside out ball as Germans Florian Koch and Nicolas Buchholz nailed three’s while Devon Goodman and Swedish youth national player Zaba Bangala scored in the paint. It also helped Rhondorf’s cause that the guests suffered their fifth team foul at the 7,09 minute mark. Iserlohn was hectic in their sets and were forced to tough shots. But Iserlohn calmed down and started to attack the rim more getting easy baskets from Germans Patrick Tekka and Emil Loch. Iserlohn stepped up their defense and got easy baskets as well. The guests also got key three’s from Germans Joshua Dahmen who is in his 15th season with the Kangaroos and from ex Ehingen forward Mathias Groh. Rhondorf got 2 key buckets from captain Paul Albrecht. The Dragons Rhondorf led 22-16 after 10 minutes. ‘We began well sticking to the game plan, but then made concentration mistakes which helped make them strong’, stated Mubarek Salami. The Dragons Rhondorf shot over 50% from the field and from outside and had 12 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the guests shot39% from the field and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
Devon Goodman from outside
The game remained a close battle in the second quarter despite the Dragons leading by 8 at one point could only lead by 3 at the break. Iserlohn began to attack the paint more aggressively getting three baskets in a row by German forward Elias Marei. The German big who is playing his fourth season in Iserlohn continues to make progress and gain minutes this season finishing with a double double of 10/10. Iserlohn stayed on the Dragon’s tail 26-22, but the Dragons wouldn’t give up the lead. They got consistent execution getting a lay in by Bangala and three’s by Buchholz and Koch to lead 36-28. But the Dragons Rhondorf couldn’t keep up the pressure and momentum caving in and allowing a brutal 12-2 run to let the guests take the 40-38 lead. Boksic was getting warmed up for his fourth quarter heroics scoring 5 points while Dahmen added a runner and American Michael Cubbage a trey. Rhondorf couldn’t muster inside living off their three while Iserlohn did good work on the offensive board getting extra chances as well. Rhondorf closed out the second quarter on a high with 5 consecutive points as ex Giessen guard Florian Koch nailed a trey and Goodman made a lay in on transition. ‘Iserlohn made a big comeback. We made turnovers which helped them get back into the game’, added Mubarek Salami. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to shoot over 50% from the field and three point line and had 22 rebounds and 9 turnovers while Iserlohn shot 44% from the field and 29% from the three point line and had 14 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
Marko Boksic from downtown
The third quarter was a low scoring affair that showed Rhondorf lead briefly by 6 points, but couldn’t capitalize on it. The first few minutes saw both teams not execute until Samuel Mpacko and Buchholz traded three pointers as Rhondorf led 46-43. Iserlohn then went on a mini run as Cubbage made a finger tip lay in and Loch made a tap in on the glass as Iserlohn led 47-46. Rhondorf then had a super spurt of 2 minutes going on a 9-2 run to lead 55-49. Florian Koch was really potent in the run with 7 points and displaying his knack of being able to score in bunches. With the exception of a Koch three pointer, the Dragons attacked the rim three times and were rewarded with 2 Koch lay ins, and a Florian Wendeler lay in. But once again the Dragons couldn’t hold the lead and expand it. Instead they let Iserlohn break out a 6-0 run as Marei scored over Wendeler, Dahmen scored inside and Cabbage scored in the lane to tie the game at 55-55. Salami made a free throw giving Rhondorf the 56-55 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘They didn’t do anything special or different. We knew their game plan. We just had lapses in concentration and made so many little mistakes’, added Mubarak Salami. ‘We stayed cool and stuck to our principles. That helped us stay in the game’, said Michael Cubbage. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 51% from the field and 41% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Iserlohn Kangaroos shot 41% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and had 24 rebounds and 9 turnovers.
Mubarak Salami at the FT line
In the fourth quarter the Iserlohn Kangaroos had to withstand a Paul Albrecht 4-0 run to start, but then took control and never looked back being able to control a close and tight game and let Marko Boksic do his magic. Boksic didn’t waste anytime scoring 5 unanswered points to dead lock the contest at 60-60. The 5-0 run by Boksic turned into a 10-0 run as Cabbage added an off balance shot and free throw and Boksic struck again with a jumper as Rhondorf trailed 65-60. Iserlohn were calm and played their game while Rhondorf couldn’t find a rhythm and couldn’t tame the Boksic and Cabbage show. Bangala finally stopped the 10-0 run with a lay in to trail 65-62. But Boksic and Cabbage continued to execute scoring twice for the 69-63 lead. Goodman added a clutch trey to trail only 69-66. But Boksic then made the next money shot with a trey for the 72-66 lead with 47 seconds to play. ‘My team wanted me to have the ball and put me into a situation that I feel comfortable with. That makes it so much easier’, warned Marko Boksic. ‘I know where Marko likes to have the ball. It took us a while to find the reads and when we did he hit big shots’, added Michael Cubbage. Goodman added a quick lay in with 36 seconds to play to trail 72-68. But Iserlohn closed out the game with Boksic free throws. ‘We have been lacking a defensive identity all season and are still trying to figure it out. But tonight our intensity allowed us to win this game’, stated Michael Cubbage. ‘We were too slow covering Boksic. He got stronger with every new shot that he made’, said Mubarak Salami. The Iserlohn Kangaroos were led by Marko Boksic with 23 points. Michael Cubbage added 13 points and Elias Marei and Samuel Mpacko 10 points a piece while the Dragons Rhondorf were led by Florian Koch and Devon Goodman with 18 points a piece. Paul Albrecht added 12 points. The Iserlohn Kangaroos shot 43% from the field and 26% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 45% from the field and 33% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 18 turnovers.