The Find A Way Mentality And Florian Koch Crunch-Time Three Seal The Deal For The Dragons Rhondorf 88-82 Victory Over the TKS 49ers

There was a very very strange feeling as one entered the Dragon dome. It had been 3 weeks since the last game and big win over the Sixers. Everyone was thrilled after the big win. The club went into the Fiba window break confident and returned 3 weeks later without Mubarak Salami who will never return ever again. His tragic death some weeks ago really has hit everyone connected to the team. After postponing the game in Wolmirstedt the Dragons Rhondorf returned back to their living room and had to be ready for work against the TSK 49ers as life went on. The 49ers came to Rhondorf with an identical 11-8 record and had won 5 of the last 6 contests. They also sought revenge for the 82-66 loss against Rhondorf at the start of the season. On a rather mild March day the mood in the Dragon Dome was upbeat, but one could also sense that touch of sadness in the air as the Mubarak Salami death effected everyone. It had only been 18 hours since the Dragons had arrived back home from the Salami funeral in Hamburg after they had been on the road for 20 hours and nobody could of expected an incredible showing. But Rhondorf stuck together as a team and came through in crunch-time overcoming a furious comeback by the guests winning 88-82. ‘This was a big win. We didn’t really know what to expect. Our motto coming into the game was find a way. Each player had to find a way to give their best despite the difficult circumstances. It was very emotional. We left at 5am yesterday for the funeral in Hamburg where it snowed all day. Everyone was frozen. We stayed together and gave everything we had. We couldn’t prepare as well as usual. I’m really proud how we played’, stressed Dragons Rhondorf captain Paul Albrecht. The TKS 49ers fought until the end, but at the end couldn’t pull out the win after their star player Andrii Kozhemiakin fouled out in the last minutes. ‘We had many injuries and guys missing. It was tough to play under the circumstances. We broke down in the third quarter. We could of won this game, but it was tough to lose it on an and one three pointer’, stated TKS 49ers big man Leonard Hampl

Robin Jorch jumper

.The first quarter was a back and forth battle where the TKS 49ers were able to execute their offense very well taking advantage of the Dragons Rhondorf weak 1-1 offense and let Andrii Kozhemiakin play his game. The 49ers did a good job getting easy baskets inside as ex Boise State center Robin Jorch scored 2 buckets while the Dragons Rhondorf concentrated on getting baskets inside as well as Swedish national player Zaba Bangala showed his dominance while Devon Goodman (184-PG-1997, college: Pennsylvania) ran circles around the 49ers defense. The 49ers also had a thin rotation and got much needed support from their young German role players as Lukas Wagner and Fredinand Von Saldern scored baskets, but the game was dead locked at 13-13 as no team could shake the other. The Dragons Rhondorf had done a great job for the first half of the first quarter in not allowing Kozhemiakin get inside and score and instead kept him away from the zone and allowed him to playmake, but in the last 5 minutes, he broke through and led his team on a brutal 9-2 run scoring all his teams points and allowing the 49ers to lead 22-15. But the Dragons Rhondorf held on and stayed together getting valuable baskets in the paint from Goodwin, ex Giessen guard Florian Koch and ex Artland Dragon Paul Albrecht as the 49ers led 26-23. ‘We knew that the 49ers really depended on the game of Kozhemiakin. He really attacks the rim well. We stopped him well at first, but then he punished us and did a good job carrying his team’, stated Paul Albrecht. The TKS 49ers short an incredible 91% from the two point range and 33% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 56% from the two point range and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

Paul Albrecht at the FT line

The second quarter continued to be an open battle as no team could go on a massive run as the TKS 49ers had a slim 2 point lead at half-time. The Dragons Rhondorf came out with force going on a lethal 9-2 run to take the 32-30 lead. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf got great support from Zaba Bangala as he scored 3 baskets and 7 points. The chemistry and timing between Bangala and Goodwin was refreshing as the American made pretty pass after pretty pass finding baby Zion while the big man also contributed a three pointer testing his 13% on the season. Ex Pro B champion Florian Wendeler also added a massive dunk. Rhondorf raised their intensity at both ends and punished the guests on second chance opportunities. They also showed different defensive looks which the guests couldn’t come to terms with. The game remained tight as The TKS 49ers broke the run continuing to attack the zone getting easy buckets from Kozhemiakin, and Leonard Hampl for the 36-32 advantage. Paul Albrecht found his groove on offense adding 5 points including a trey to tie the game at 40-40. Goodman continued to be a menace with his drive and quickness scoring on a lay for the 43-42 lead, but the dramatic ended with a Lukas Wagner three pointer at the buzzer as the TKS 49ers led 45-43 at the break. ‘We have had 1-1 problems on defense all season. We practice so hard during the week to correct, but we just can’t execute it in games’, stressed Paul Albrecht. The TKS 49ers continued to shoot well from the two point range at 61% and 33% from the three point line and had 16 rebounds and 5 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 58% from the two point range and 31% from the three point range and had 19 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

Devon Goodman drives to hoop

In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf broke the game open being able to lead by double figures and lead by 16 points after 3 quarters as they finally got their three pointer to cook and get guys involved that had been quieted in the first half. The Dragons Rhondorf stormed out into the third quarter with a brutal 22-7 run to lead 65-52. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf attacked the zone with ease as Goodman scored twice while Wendeler and Bangala also contributed lay ins. But it wasn’t only penetration that carried the Dragons but they also demonstrated their fine inside out game as Buchholz, Albrecht and Koch added three pointers. The Dragons offense was flowing and their team basketball was a joy to witness. They heightened their defensive pressure which sparked their offense as well. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to keep up the offensive pressure and the 49ers were beginning to tire a bit as only top player Andrii Kozhemiakin was able to keep his play at a high level as he kept his team in the game with two lay ins. The Dragons Rhondorf closed out the third quarter with a potent 9-2 run getting three’s from ex Coburg forward Adrian Bergmann and Koch and a 20 footer by Goodman to lead 74-58 after 3 quarters. ‘We broke free finding our offensive rhythm. We weren’t all on the same page in the first half, but shock it off in the third quarter. We changed the game and kept Kozhemiakin under wraps’, stated Paul Albrecht. ‘They found their offensive rhythm. We knew that Buchholz and Koch were good shooters. We played zone but they hit shots with us always a meter off’, stated Leonard Hampl. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 66% from the two point range and 45% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the TKS 49ers shot 59% from the two point range and 25% from the parking lot and had 20 rebounds and 9 turnovers.

Andrii Kozhemiakin at the ft line

The TKS 49ers made a great come back in the fourth quarter even being able to cut the Dragons lead down to 3 points in crunch-time, but the Dragons Rhondorf kept their composure not allowing the 49ers get over the hump. The TKS 49ers went on an incredible 15-4 run to cut the Dragons lead down to 78-73 despite Andrii Kozhemiakin playing at full tilt on defense with 4 fouls. In the run the TKS 49ers played superb team basketball getting input from their role players. Hampl and Wagner scored the first 4 points and Robin Jorch also scored with a lay in and Kohemiakin added 7 points with a trey and 4 free throws. ‘Andrii is so important for us. He is a shifty point guard that can always give us a lot of scoring. He had good anticipation on defense. He was unlucky getting his fifth foul’, commented Leonard Hampl. The Dragons Rhondorf got too lax already thinking they had the game in the bag. Their intensity dropped and unneeded turnovers shifted the game back in the direction of the 49ers. ‘We went back to man and strengthed our pick and roll defense. That led to easy fast break baskets’, expressed Leonard Hampl. The game continued to be a hard fought battle as Goodman and Albrecht scored while Kozhemiakin and Yannick Hildebrandt scored as Rhondorf still led 83-77. The TKS 49ers continued to fight and just didn’t wouldn’t leave the Dragons back door as Wagner made a clutch trey in crunch-time to cut the Dragons lead to 83-80. But then came the final turning point of the game as Florian Koch nailed a deadly step back three pointer which ended in a 4 point play and Kozhemiakin’s fifth foul as Rhondorf led 87-80. ‘Flo is so important for us. He was the best three point shooter at a time for a reason. We got stops and were able to execute in deciding moments. We knew we had the game won after that’, smiled Paul Albrecht. ‘We were in game. That Koch shot hurt us. We went from minus 3 to minutes 7. It was tough losing like that in last minute’, added Leonard Hampl. The Dragons Rhondorf Were led by Devon Goodman with 19 points and 12 dimes and Zaba Bangala with 19 points while Florian Koch added 18 points and Paul Albrecht 17 points while the TKS 49ers were led by Andrii Kozhemiakin with 34 points and Lukas Wagner added 15 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 56% from the field and 40% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the TKS 49ers shot 49% from the field and 26% from outside and 27 rebounds and 13 turnovers.Tags : DEVON GOODMANTELEKOM BASKETS BONNGERMAN BASKETBALL

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