In front of almost 1,000 fans, BBC Coburg lost to nine-time German champion Brose Bamberg 71-108 (29-52) at the HUK-Coburg arena on Thursday evening.
The home side's motivation was evident from the first minute, but they could only equalize the class difference in the third quarter. After halftime, the BBC kept pace and stood up to the guests from the cathedral city. The US-American William Vedder made a great debut for the Coburg team and was the best scorer of the game with 19 points. Gabriel Chachashvili was the most effective player for Brose Bamberg with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. For both teams it was the first test game of the new season and for Coburg's coach Jessie Miller and Bamberg's coach Oren Amiel a great opportunity to get a good look at the teams.
The game started bumpy for both teams in terms of scoring. Coburg scored for the first time with a free throw by Sonnefeld and a basket by Vedder. After three minutes, Bamberg was leading 3:4. Already in the first quarter, the coaches were changing players to test different rotations. At the beginning, the home side found the right answers offensively through successful finishes by Vedder, but towards the end of the quarter Bamberg pulled away to 9:19.
Bamberg's Patrick Heckmann started the second quarter with a three-pointer from the baseline and Brose continued to pull away. His teammate Spencer Reaves did the same and the score was 11:25. Kevin Wohlrath, Justin Wright-Foreman and Solomon Young also wanted to prove that they can hit from the outside and extended the Bamberg lead to 18 with three-pointers. Overall, the three-point percentage of the Cathedral City team was impressive at 45 percent. Jessie Miller was fed up with the visitors' shooting spree and called her boys in for a timeout. In the second quarter, however, Coburg gave up 33 points to the Bundesliga team, and at halftime the BBC trailed 29:52.
Things went much better for Coburg's basketball players after the change of ends. Vedder came out of the dressing room with energy and stuffed the ball into the basket for 31:54 (23rd). The forward from Washington, D.C., was also a spirited presence on the offensive board, converting the rebound into points and was rewarded with a bonus free throw on top of that. Jannis Sonnefeld and Leon Bulic, who both have dual licenses and can play for both Coburg and Bamberg in the upcoming season, switched jerseys at halftime. Sonnefeld played for Coburg in the first half and then for Bamberg, while it was the other way around for Leon Bulic. Tyreese Blunt, who also has such a dual license, played consistently for the BBC on Thursday, finishing with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. In the game, Schönbeck made a three-pointer to cut it to 47-63 from the home side's point of view. Newcomer Adrian Petkovic made two free throws to bring the score to 49:65. At the end of the game, Coburg's basketball team had a solid free throw percentage of 82 percent, but the three-point percentage was weak as usual at 24 percent.
In the last quarter, the difference in class and, above all, the physical superiority of the Bamberg team became clearly noticeable. Again and again it was Solomon Young who dominated in the zone. In the end, he scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. But also on the part of the Coburg team there were some good things to report: Nico Höllerl ran hot in the fourth quarter and scored 10 points, hitting four of his five attempts from the field. With a final score of 71:108, the players said goodbye to the Coburg crowd.
Bamberg coach Oren Amiel sees his team on a good path. "We have a good energy in the team. Of course, we still have a long way to go, we are not anywhere near where we want to be, but the chemistry and cohesion are right and now we have to create a good combination out of it," said the Israeli after the encounter. For the BBC, he also sees the dual licenses of Coburg's three key players Blunt, Sonnefeld and Bulic as a blessing for the development of the youngsters. "It's good that the three of them can train with us and will have match-ups with players like Chris Sengfelder in training, so they will learn a lot and ultimately Coburg will also benefit from it."
BBC coach Jessie Miller is also just at the beginning of the adventure barely two weeks after the start of training: "We are currently working on the fundamentals and what our standards should be this season. Today we already showed that we can sprint. And sprinting doesn't mean jogging, it means running. And we want to put the main focus on defense, play full-court pressing and work intensively against the ball. Today it was good for us to have the opportunity to play against a physically superior opponent with experienced players," said the Texan.
BBC Coburg will be back on the court at the HUK COBURG arena in just two weeks. A preparation tournament will be held there on September 10 and 11.