BBC Coburg has been demoted from the ProB 2nd German Basketball League after just one season. After a 90:78 defeat on the road at TG s.Oliver Würzburg on Sunday evening, a win in the final game of the season will also not be enough to save it from slipping back into the 1st Regional Division Southeast.
The encounter in TGW’s sweltering Feggrube sports center, which was excellently filled thanks to admission being free, began in the style of a true relegation thriller. Both teams were nervous in attack and defended intensively in the opening minutes. It was not until four minutes had been played that Byron Sanford put the BBC’s first points on the board with a half-distance shot, but by that time Würzburg had only scored four points itself. Jordan Burris then finally got the visitors right into the game with a step back three and then an alley-op after a great pass by Turan. Max von der Wippel with a mighty slam-dunk after another pass by Turan and Sanford with a bucket from beyond the arc underscored that the club from Upper Franconia did not intend to be left trailing from an early stage this time. The first period ended with Würzburg leading 18:14.
However, Coburg suffered a slump in the second quarter. The reserve side of the first division club, which had its “Twin Towers” Leon Kratzer and Dejan Kovacevic on court at the same time in this spell and so was able to repeatedly exploit its size advantages at the board, produced a run of 11 points without reply to open up a substantial gap. Strong defending by the home side and a lack of inventiveness in Coburg’s attacking play meant the visitors trailed by the clear margin of 43:29 at half-time.
However, Coburg’s best phase would commence right after the break. A 7:19 run, sparked in particular by the U.S. duo of Sanford and Burris, slashed the home side’s apparently comfortable lead to a meager two points in the space of 180 seconds. Würzburg now seemed to show nerves and the large and vociferous contingent of Coburg’s fans sensed that their team was back in with a chance. However, two controversial unsporting fouls awarded against Coburg caused the momentum to change hands again. On both occasions, the referees penalized offenses they identified after an interruption to the game. That was compounded by a bucket from outside by the strong Julian Albus, meaning the so promising intermediate spurt by the BBC had little noticeable impact on the scoreline after 30 minutes.
It then became clear in the final period just how much strength the comeback in the baking-hot arena had cost. The team of Head Coach Derrick Taylor was not able to close the gap to less than nine points, despite an impressive fighting display. That was in particular because, although the home side did not score as often, it dominated rebounding below the boards at will, finishing up with the better statistics in that department (40:22). When the outstanding point guard Miles Jackson-Cartwright (25 points, 15 assists) set up Garrett Jackson to make it 89:78, it was clear to the BBC’s fans that their club’s excursion in Germany’s third-highest division would be a short one, at least for the time being. Even though there is one game left, Würzburg and the reserve side of FC Bayern Munich cannot be overtaken in the table.
The persons in charge of BBC Coburg first wanted to let the defeat and the club’s relegation sink in after the final buzzer; an assessment of the season will be made after the final playdown game at home this Saturday, April 21 (tip-off: 7:30 p.m.) against Karlsruhe, who have likewise been relegated just one year after winning promotion. However, two things could be gleaned from the mood after the encounter in Würzburg. First, the team will do all in its power to win at home and so at least make sure it bids farewell to the league in honorable fashion. Second, everyone involved agreed that it was not the defeat on Sunday against a first-division club’s reserve side with players of outstanding quality that sealed relegation – the foundation for that was laid far earlier.