The season came to an end for the Heroes Of Tomorrow in Ludwigsburg on Tuesday evening. In game three of the playoff series against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner lost 70:95 in front of 3,523 spectators in the MHP Arena, with the result that the home side advanced to the semi-finals with a clean 3:0 sweep.
After De’Mon Brooks put the first points on the board and Andreas Seiferth tied the encounter at 6:6, the Heroes Of Tomorrow conceded a number of turnovers – a total of six after just five-and-a-half minutes according to the stat sheet –, which Ludwigsburg capitalized on to move 13:6 in front: However, Medi struck back quickly with buckets from beyond the arc by Gabe York and Bastian Doreth to reduce the deficit to 12:15. The Heroes Of Tomorrow were now back in the game and even tied the scores when Steve Wachalski drained a three (19:19), after which Adam Waleskowski made a buzzer-beating tip-in (21:19).
The second period would prove to be the most exciting in the game. Hard fouls and occasional trash talk characterized the quarter, in which De’Mon Brooks added two free throws to cap an 8:2 run and put his side 33:32 ahead. It looked now that the Heroes Of Tomorrow had gained the upper hand, but Ludwigsburg hit back. A bucket from downtown by Adika Peter-McNeilly was followed by points from Adam Waleskowski, who again turned in a very strong performance, to make it 42:37. The last two minutes then belonged to Raoul Korner’s team, which took the period after a slam-dunk by Brooks and was able to reduce the deficit to 41:42 – also because it only conceded one turnover from the 5th minute of play.
The encounter remained exciting for just four minutes after the break. Twelve seconds after De’Mon Brooks made it 46:45, Jeremy Senglin drained a three – and that seemed to spark a sudden change among both teams: Whereas hardly anything came off for Medi any more, it felt like the home side scored on its every play. Bayreuth added just a further four points up to the end of the third quarter, enabling Ludwigsburg to stretch its lead to 68:50.
The final ten minutes of a season that was all in all a success for Medi Bayreuth did not produce a turnaround for the visitors, who added just one further three through Gabe York (53:71). Another run by Ludwigsburg, this time of nine points without reply between the 33rd and 36th minutes, sealed the game, and the home side ran out winners by 88:58 to qualify for the semi-finals. There was an especially loud roar from the crowd with two minutes remaining, when Johannes Thiemann celebrated a comeback that no one had thought possible any more this season after he had torn a tendon in his thigh.
The disappointment after the third defeat in the best-of-five series was etched in the faces of the Heroes Of Tomorrow at the end of the game. Bastian Doreth and his teammates would have loved to take the series to another game in Bayreuth, but the side of RIESEN’s Head Coach John Patrick proved to be too great a hurdle in the third encounter. The home side allowed the Heroes Of Tomorrow to score just 29 points in the second half and so captured win number three. The sober assessment: looking back at the series as a whole, Ludwigsburg cannot be begrudged its victory – quite simply because it turned in a fine display.
Nevertheless, the Heroes Of Tomorrow can look back on a magnificent season with great satisfaction. After reaching the playoffs in the easyCredit German Basketball League again and qualifying for the Top Four tournament in the German cup, they did the city proud and put Bayreuth on the basketball map – especially in the Champions League, where they chalked up unforgettable wins such as against the later title winners from Athens or over one of the top favorites Beşiktaş Istanbul to advance to the last eight.
Raoul Korner, Head Coach of Medi Bayreuth, commented: “Unfortunately, we were only able to match Ludwigsburg in just one game in the series and lost clearly in the other two. When you play against each other six times in a season and lose five times, you have to admit at the end of the day that the other team is better. However, I also want to congratulate my team on an outstanding season. I think that, looking at our successes, we can be more than satisfied.”