A week before the start of the Pro B playoffs, there was still one last regular season game between number one team EPG Baskets Koblenz with a record of 22-1 and Bavarian team Oberaching with a record of 12-11, but it was a game that had no real ramifications, because both knew their playoff begin fate in that Koblenz had home court advantage while Oberaching had to begin on the road. Even if the game might have seemed meaningless, it wasn’t because both teams obviously wanted to end the regular season with a bang and have the needed self confidence to go into the post season ready. The EPG Baskets came into the game with an incredible 13 game winning streak while Oberaching had won 2 of the last 3 games and had their defense ready as they had only allowed 63 points in the last win over Ehingen. The game also had another special side note in that EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein and Oberaching head coach Mario Matic are good friends and had another test to see who has bragging rights for the post season. On a mild Easter weekend, fans saw a wild game as there was an influx of over 50 team fouls. It wasn’t a pretty game, but after an average first half, the EPG Baskets Koblenz were able to play their game better in the second half and prevail 88-72. ‘This didn’t feel like a dominating win. It was an up and down game for us. We threw the ball away too much in the first half. We managed the game better in the second half. We have to know that we can’t play like this in the playoffs. This was a good test for us’, warned EPG Baskets Koblenz guard Dominique Johnson. The TSV Oberaching Tropics played without American star Omari Knox who was being rested for the playoffs and gave all they had, but just couldn’t keep up with Koblenz for 40 minutes and coughed up the ball too much. ‘We fought hard, but anytime you give up 27 turnovers you won’t have a chance to win. They had too much pressure and we turned over the ball too much. But at times we stayed with them well’, stressed TSV Oberaching tropics head coach Mario Matic.
Alani Moore at the FT line
The first quarter was a hard fought battle where no team could get away from the other. The EPG Baskets Koblenz looked like they were playing at 60%-70% while the TSV Oberaching Tropics were at full throttle. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had difficulty getting their offense going while the Bavarian squad were able to execute well getting some three’s from Germans Bernhard Benke and Moritz Noeres for the 11-8 advantage while Koblenz got production from Alani Moore and a couple of buckets from ex Ehingen center Brian Butler. The guests were fortunate getting some 50/50 balls, but still lost the lead with an offensive rebound and put back from German big man Moses Poelking for the 12-11 advantage. But the guests stole the lead back with a lay in from German Jorg Dippold and a three from German sniper Janosch Kogler. German Nicolas Sperber gave the EPG Baskets some energy from the bench nailing a trey to cut the guests lead to 17-16, but Oberaching kept the lead getting to the free throw line getting points from ex IBAM big man Fynn Fischer to lead 21-19 after 10 minutes. ‘That was a bad quarter for us. We were unconcentrated and inconsistent. We missed too many open shots and had bad decisions. We did play aggressive defense’, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.
Janosch Kogler with the lay in
In the second quarter the EPG Baskets could steal the lead back, but still let the TSV Oberaching Tropics hang around as they led only by 7 points at the break. Ex Heidelberg sniper Leon Friederici (190-SG-1995) began the second quarter with a trey to give Koblenz the 22-21 lead, but Fynn Fischer struck back with a lay in to get Oberaching the lead back at 23-22. Then came some instant spark from ex Temple (NCAA) lightening bolt Alani Moore as he produced 6 unanswered points for the 29-23 Koblenz lead. He struck for 3 free throws and then dropped a three pointer. ‘He controls the speed in the game. He is without a doubt our most important player. He can score and facilitate, but he is such a great shooter. When you have a guy that is so fast coupled with his precise shooting then he is hard to stop. He reads the game so well. He is a joy to watch’, warned Thomas Klein. Koblenz then got some baskets from Brian Butler and Moses Poelking to keep the commanding 34-25 lead. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had increased their intensity at both ends and were simply hitting shots better. But the guests kept chipping away getting some baskets from Fischer and Kogler to trail only 35-33. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz simply had too much instant scoring punch as Leon Friederici nailed 2 bombs from the parking lot to give Koblenz the 44-37 advantage at the break. ‘Friederici saved the second quarter for us. This quarter was more shadow than light. The refs dominated the game and made it harder for us than for the guests because we had problems with all the delays’, commented Thomas Klein.
Moses Poelking with the lay in
The EPG Baskets Koblenz finally made their move in the third quarter being able to lead in double figures and by 17 points after 30 minutes. The EPG Baskets had their most consistent spurt up to that point going on a 12-3 run to lead 56-40. In the run Koblenz was led by Alani Moore with 5 points, but also spread the ball around showing love for many as ex BBL player Marvin Heckel scored, , Sperber connected on a left handed hook shot and Leo Saffer made a tap in. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were showing more effort and moving the ball around better. They also stepped up their physicality on defense that Oberaching couldn’t come to terms with. The EPG Baskets continued to control the game despite Oberaching getting baskets from ex BBL player Peter Zeis and Kogler, but couldn’t get over the hump. Marvin Heckel showed that he can score in bunches scoring 3 in a row and Butler made a thunderous one handed dunk for the 68-47 lead. ‘That dunk was a 10. He jumped from very far away’, said Thomas Klein. The guests did close out the third quarter with a bang with a 7-3 run as Dippold made a trey and Benke scored twice in the paint, but the EPG Baskets Koblenz still led 71-54. ‘That was our best quarter of the game. We had a few lows. We played our game and gave some spectacular plays for the fans’, said Thomas Klein. ‘We couldn’t handle their pressure and had too many turnovers. They took advantage of our turnovers and got easy baskets. Friederici made big shots and we had bad 1-1 penetration defense’, commented Mario Matic. ‘We were more aggressive on defense and got more lay ups which we couldn’t do as well in the first half. We played transition and slowed them down on transition’, added Dominique Johnson.
Fynn Fischer at the FT line
The TSV Oberaching Tropics won the fourth quarter 18-17, but it didn’t matter because the EPG Baskets Koblenz had had a big lead which the guests couldn’t put a big dent into. Leon Friederici continued to show his consistent outside shooting making 2 more three’s and also added 2 free throws to keep the EPG Baskets Koblenz with the massive 80-61 lead. The guests were tired and had numerous guys in foul trouble so getting over the hump got more and more difficult. They did find some added energy down the stretch going on a 9-4 run to trail only 84-70. They got some added support from young German Benjamin Voit who added 5 points and Kogler made an off balance shot. The EPG Baskets Koblenz closed out the game with baskets from Saffer with a tip and Heckel with a pull up jumper at the buzzer. ‘A win is a win. Even if it wasn’t our best game, we won. We let our bench play. There were so many fouls which was crazy’, stressed Thomas Klein. ‘We knew the game was over. Koblenz shifted down a few gears. We gave our best. Sandersdorf is strong. Donte Nicholas is a machine. I feel we have a chance’, warned Mario Matic. ‘We knew the game was over. We didn’t want to get hurt. We didn’t play with the right mentality. We have to always give 100%. Schwelm will be a tough opponent. I’m looking forward to playing against Chris Frazier. I think that if we play our game, be aggressive and play fast then we will have good chances to win’, warned Dominique Johnson. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Leon Friederici with 24 points. Alani Moore added 15 points and Marvin Heckel 13 points while the TSV Oberaching Tropics were led by Fynn Fischer with 18 points while Janosch Kogler and Bernhard Benke added 12 points a piece. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 41% from the field and 32% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 41% from the field and 29% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 27 turnovers.