If one had been away from the Dragon Dome the last few weeks concentrating more on the fabulous and always exciting March Madness in the States where a team like South Carolina stole the hearts of possibly even some loyal North Carolina Tar Heel fans or been outside enjoying the early spring weather and returned back to basketball in Rhondorf this last weekend, two major things would have caught the observer. The first most drastic item that one would not have seen cleaning up and dominating the paint area on both ends of the court would have been the big Dawg from Bloom Township, Illinois Aaron Nelson. He had abruptly departed from the club and returned back to the States listing homesickness as the reason. For many this may have been a true fact, but for others there seemed to be more behind the surface that just wasn´t communicated and for the club a very bitter event since now the club was missing 23 points and 12 rebounds a game and had to get more input from every other player under the boards. The other major development was not seeing a tall man in black, for some possibly a younger version of a Dirk Bauermann in attire as the GQ like figure of head coach Matthias Sonnenschein was missing as he had been dismissed by management and replaced by experienced Dutch man Thomas Roijakkers who´s name is familiar as his brother Johan coaches 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. Thomas Roijakkers last coached Pro B north team Stahnsdorf and gained further experience with Pro B team Recklingshausen from 2013-2015. He is known for his knowledge, work ethic and versatility. He is a specialist regarding digital video team and player scouting / analyzing. He also has a lot of experience in individual skill development and guidance of players. The Dragons Rhondorf had started off poorly in the play downs with a 0-2 record having lost to Lich and Leipzig and now were meeting the Giants Nordlingen who had a 1-1 record having beat Leipzig and lost to Lich. The only good news for Dragon fans was that they had their pro B basketball destiny in their own hands as they had two wins more than Leipzig and would fight for that last Pro B spot for next season as Lich is on it´s way to staying in the Pro B having two wins more than Rhondorf. After 40 minutes Aaron Nelson still wasn´t there, but new head coach Thomas Roijakkers still was and was very happy having been able to win his first game as Dragon head coach 80-78 over the Giants Nordlingen who´s come back attempt fell short in the last seconds.
After the victory game top scorer Mike Lucier who dropped 25 points and had 11 rebounds was thrilled about the win as well as relieved as the last weeks have been difficult with so much drama within the organization. “It has been tough as we didn´t want to be in this position now when the season started. We all have jobs to do and know that we have to win. I just try to stay focused and help the team win. I have a bigger role now. We started strong in the first and third quarters, but not in the second and fourth quarters where we were slowed down. We had too many break downs, but at the end of the day we needed a win and I am happy that we got it”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf forward Mike Lucier. The Giants Nordlingen had to fight back the whole game and could have won it at the end, but came up short. With all their bad luck this season, it seemed only normal that they wouldn´t grind out the win. “It was a tough battle and we fought until the end, but we just couldn´t get the win. We really wanted to stay in the league, but couldn´t make shots. I felt that we moved the ball well, hit open shots and adjusted well to their zone. We didn´t start well at all and at times played selfish which resulted in fast break baskets for them. They had too many runs that we couldn´t rebound from”, added Giants Nordlingen forward Adrein Coleman.