Even though there was no way BBC Coburg could avoid relegation from the ProB 2nd German Basketball League, the team bade farewell yesterday in its last game before the summer break with a noteworthy victory, winning its final encounter of the season by 88:78 against KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe after trailing at the break.
As so often in the past 2017/2018 season, the around 500 spectators in the HUK-Coburg arena again saw the two different faces of BBC Coburg in its final outing of the campaign. In tropical weather conditions, the players of Head Coach Derrick Taylor produced a truly sparkling performance in the first six minutes with a display that belied the fact that they had been demoted. Coburg passed the ball fluently and the visitors had no answers to its flourishing attacks. An alley-oop by Jordan Burris to Christopher Wolf, Max von der Wippel first with a hook throw with his right and then with a hook throw with his left, and Byron Sanford, whose speed repeatedly posed problems for Karlsruhe’s defense, were the highlights of an impressive 25:9 run in the first period.
However, Karlsruhe’s Head Coach Jaivon Harris then switched to zone defense and took the steam out of the BBC’s play. The home side’s attacking game suddenly seemed static, it increasingly tried solo moves instead of moving the ball quickly, and irritation set in on and off court. In defense, Coburg now allowed the visitors’ long-range shooters one open shot after the other. An 18:39 spurt up to the break put the “Geckos” 43:48 ahead at half-time.
Yet the rollercoaster display on the final matchday, which was so symptomatic of the entire season, was far from over. Toward the end of the third period, BBC Coburg put on its Sunday face in the encounter, which was held unusually on a Saturday evening, and also got the crowd right behind it again. The home side recaptured the lead with a tip-in by the strong Wolf, who finished up with a double-double of 23 points and ten rebounds, and a bucket from beyond the arc by Sanford. After that, it again played as if possessed – a frustrating demonstration to the BBC’s fans of just what potential this team has, but often fails to summon up. The club from Upper Franconia thwarted all of Karlsruhe’s hopes of a possible second away win of the season with a run of 18 points without reply in the space of four minutes. One point that deserves particular mention in this spell was the comeback of the youngster Matthias Fichtner, who had been out through injury for a long time and commandingly drained his two attempted threes.
Yet since the only reliable constant factor in Coburg’s first season in professional basketball in its history was its lack of consistency, the BBC let its grip slacken a little again in the final minutes and allowed the visitors to put a better complexion on the score over a longish period. Nevertheless, it was a conciliatory ending to a difficult season and there now remains a lot of work for those in charge, who face the task of conducting a post-mortem in the coming weeks and drawing conclusions for the new campaign in the fall.