The extended basketball vacation away form the Dragon Dome didn´t feel like a long time for many, but moreover felt like an eternity. The last time that Dragons fans could witness a home game was almost 7 months ago. Back then all fans went home delighted having watched a 102-63 massacre over Essen. Not only was a lot different with the Dragons Rhondorf roster, but the usual procedure of watching a game was totally different. First of all the masks were standard procedure, not all stands were filled, because one had to obey to a 1,5 meter distance from the next person. COVID-19 was still very much alive, but at least basketball was being played again. The Dragons Rohndorf entered the season with a very very young roster with an averaged age of 20 years. Having a young team is risky, but it´s worth it if it means being able to develop young players like Oshane Drews, Ousmane Ndiye and Clint Schonheiter the way they want to. On the other side of the court were the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen that were able to keep 9 players from last season and boasted an average age of 28 years. The club had known German players like Benjamin Fumey and Daniel Boahane and had recently scoped up a real gem with Jordan Hill who had played at the very well known Wisconsin(NCAA) and reached an NCAA Final 4 twice losing to Kentucky and Duke and 2 NCAA Sweet 16´s. The guests were the favorite on paper while the Dragons Rhondorf were young and wild and had nothing to lose as they wanted to follow one of their season motto of leaving the court after each game as the toughest team. The Dragons Rhondorf gave it a good fight for 40 minutes, but half way through the fourth quarter, the experience and key plays of the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen was too much as they escaped the Dragon Dome with a 87-73 win. After the win an elated Jordan Hill looked like he had just won a March Madness game, but in reality had just only won a Regionalliga game. “We stayed tough and stuck to our system. We made smart decisions and got all in involved. We also played aggressive defense and stayed true to playing defense”, stressed Ibbenburen guard Jordan Hill. The Dragons Rhondorf played a good game, but couldn´t hold it for 40 minutes, but at the end young 18 year old Bruno Albrecht was upbeat about the team´s performance. “We had this game in our hands. After a weak first quarter, we fought back, but when we could of turned game around, we couldn´t. Our 1-1 defense wasn´t good. We gave up way to many open lay ups and didn´t play enough transition. We also didn´t play enough zone defense. You need experience o be successful at that”, stressed ex Ehingen guard Bruno Albrecht.
The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen had most guys on board except for Daniel Boahane while the Dragons Rhondorf were without Killian Binapfl, Oshane Drews and Ousmane Ndiye. The Dragons Rhondorf got off on the wrong side of the bed allowing the guests to get their offense cooking swiftly as they advanced out to a 9-3 lead. They were aided by 2 three´s from German Rene Penders who entered the game with 170 Regionalliga games played and also got a lay in by Spanish versatile guard Alberto Del Hoyo. Bruno Albrecht got quick confidence in his shot nailing a trey. Rhondorf couldn´t generate much offense as Ibbenburen continued to move the ball well and got many different players involved. German Benjamin Fumey who played 18 NCAA games with Valparaiso scored inside as did Italian guard Juan Barga as the guests led 13-5. Rhondorf showed quickly their inability to stop the 1-1 as Ibbenburen got easy basket after basket. Rhondorf had some luck that German double license player Gabriel De Olveira was able to play. He came off the bench and gave the Dragons some rapid energy with back to back buckets to cut the Ibbenburen lead to 17-9. But it was German Fumey who was in control. After a beautiful extra pass to set up Marcel Schroeder who played many years with ASC Goettingen, he stepped back and nailed a trey which was followed by another lay in by Juan Barga. The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen had the comfortable 22-15 advantage after 10 minutes. “Rhondorf had problems with Ibbenburen´s physicality while Ibbenburen got many easy baskets and hit their three pointers”, expressed ex Five magazine author Joerg Baehren. Ibbenburen were shootong an incredible 60% from the field and 75% from outside while Rhondorf couldn´t hit the ocean from outside shooting 25%. Ibbenburen also established themselves on the boards early 8-4.
In the second quarter the Dragons Rhondorf fought their way back into the game as young 18 year old German Bruno Albrecht took control on defense which sparked the turnaround. American Jordan Hill had watched the whole first quarter, but made his mark in the second quarter coming in and taking charge with a steal and bucket and soon after a jumper for the 26-19 lead. The American from Pasadena, California finished with 13 points and 4 dimes in 14 minutes. “I just followed coaches lead. He told me I would go in the second quarter and be aggressive. I cheered on the team and then came in and added a quick burst of energy. I just try to be as efficient as possible. That is the most important thing for me. I had so much fun out there. I love Germany”, stressed Jordan Hill. Ibbenburen continued to be in control getting a bucket from German Philipp Lennartz, a 20 footer from Jordan Hill and a lay in from Jan Treichel who had began his career in Vechta and were looking at a very comfortable 32-21 lead. This was the moment where the game could of turned very sour for the Dragons Rhondorf as their defense was failing. However Bruno Albrecht who is a vicious defender and takes it very personal when he gets beat took over as if it was a title game. He led his team on a big 13-0 run as he scored 11 points. His defense sparked the offense. He made 3 steals in a row which led to 2 instant baskets. He also sunk free throws and hit a pretty step back in your face trey to tie the game. He then gave Rhondorf their first lead of the game with free throws 35-32. “My job isn´t to score every time, but give the team what it needs at that moment. I get steals and hit three´s and be aggressive. In the second quarter I stepped up. It´s just hard to do that the whole game”, reflected Bruno Albrecht. In the last few minutes both teams exchanged baskets and leads as Del Hoyo scored and Paul Albrecht hit a nice hook shot. German Tim Kosel who entered the game with 88 Regionalliga games played and does many things you don´t see on the stat sheet made a lay in giving Ibbenburen the 38-37 half-time lead. “Bruno Albrecht turned the game around being aggressive on the ball and Ibbenburen couldn´t get into their plays. Rhondorf got easy baskets and back into the game. Jordan Hill gave his own impact on the game”, reflected ex Telekom Baskets Bonn press secretary Joerg Baehren. Ibbenburen continued to shoot out the lights being at 64% from the field and 60% from the three point line while Rhondorf continued to struggle from downtown at 16%. Ibbenburen continued to have the advantage on the glass 13-10.
In the third quarter, no club could escape as the game was tight and no club could lead by more than 5 points. There were also 8 lead changes as well. Rhondorf climbed out to the 46-42 lead as they got some key baskets from ex Leverkusen guard Jacob Engelhardt, Paul Albrecht and Bruno Albrecht. Every time when Rhondorf scored, Ibbenburen also had an answer. Ibbenburen got key baskets from Benjamin Fumey and Marcel Schroeder to cut the Rhondorf lead to 51-49. Rhondorf just didn´t have comfortableness on offense that Ibbenburen had and gave up the lead again as little used Jordan Hill displayed his efficiency nailing a trey for the 52-51 advantage. Barga continued to be aggressive with his drive and scored upping the guests lead to 54-51. Ibbenburen stayed calm and executed with their many weapons while Rhondorf was playing their hearts out, but inexperience led to more mistakes. German Mark Kotieno who had been quiet in the game and also had some misfortune on plays came up big in this phase with back to back buckets giving Rhondorf the 55-54 advantage. But Fumey and Hill continued to execute tying the game at 58-58. Ibbenburen closed out the third quarter with Del Hoyo scoring twice leading 62-58. “We had too many turnovers which allowed them to hang around”, stressed Jordan Hill. “They are a very good team and always had the right answer”, added Bruno Albrecht.
Ibbenburen would never relinquish the lead against the Dragons Rhondorf as they continued to fight but just couldn´t get over the hump. Just like in the third quarter, Ibbenburen continued to always have good answers available when Rhondorf threatened. De Olveira and Engelhardt scored key baskets to cut Ibbenburen´s lead to 67-65, but Ibbenburen had another perfect answer ready going on a 5-0 run as Del Hoyo scored and Hill made a steal and left handed lay in for the 72-65 advantage. Bruno Albrecht continued to play out his heart as he made big play after big play in another comeback attempt. First he made a touch down pass to De Olveira for the easy lay in and then made a lay in waiting until Fumey committed and then made a free throw getting his team back to 72-70. But Ibbenburen continued to be aggressive as Fumey continued to be a one man wrecking crew inside scoring 6 points as Rhondorf continued to make mistakes trailing 78-72. After a De Olveira free throw, the Dragons were behind by 5 points, but then came the game closer as they couldn´t get 5 defensive rebounds as Tim Kosel made the put back on the team´s 5th try leading 80-73. That pretty much slammed the door shut on Rhondorf as they had no gas left. Ibbenburen closed out the game with a 7-0 run to win 87-73. Fumey scored again and Kosel and Barga nailed free throws. “Our experience was huge at the end and we had guys stepping up. That play by Kosel was huge. We were playing volley ball and they couldn´t get rebounds. We fought hard and finished plays”, added Jordan Hill. “You can´t let a small player like Kosel get the basket on the 5th try. We should have boxed out better. We just couldn´t hit our three´s today which cost us”, added Bruno Albrecht. The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen were led by Benjamin Fumey with 22 points. Albert Del Hoyo added 14 points and Jordan Hill had 13 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Bruno Albrecht and Gabriel De Olveira with 21 points a piece. Ibbenburen shot 57% from the field and 56% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 19 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 41% from the field and 18% from outside and had 22 rebounds and 14 turnovers.