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BBC Coburg loses to the league leaders from Leverkusen

Coburg, 02-16-2019

BBC COBURG ultimately came away empty-handed against the top team in the BARMER ProB South 2nd German Basketball League, Bayer Giants Leverkusen, on Saturday evening. After an evenly matched beginning, the favorites then unfurled their class and ran out commanding winners by 67:95 (33:45). The home defeat also means Coburg can bury its dreams of reaching the playoffs.

Yet the players of Head Coach Ulf Schabacker got off to a good start in front of almost 1,000 spectators in the HUK-COBURG arena. Power forward Christopher Wolf and Matthias Fichtner, who started in the center position in a small starting five, drained a bucket from beyond the arc to make it 6:3 after two minutes. Nor was there initially any discernible difference in class between the outsiders and league leaders as the game progressed. Max von der Wippel after a strong turn in the paint, Wolf from downtown again, and Kevin Franceschi with a mid-range shot stretched the gap to 21:13 in the 7th minute.

However, the visitors from the Rhine did not let themselves be disconcerted by that. In particular their second five gave an impressive demonstration of the enormous depth the squad of Head Coach Hansi Gnad has. The center of the German side that won the 1993 European Championship looked on from the bench as backup point guard Nino Celebic (7 assists) now set up his teammates with clever passes and in particular was repeatedly able to find his sharpshooters Ron Mvouika, Tim Schönborn and Michael Kuczmann and give them open shots. Since only little came off for BBC COBURG in offense during this spell, the league leaders took the second period by the clear margin of 10:21 and went in at half-time with a comfortable cushion (33:45).

After the break, Chase Adams put his stamp on the encounter to begin with – first of all in the positive sense: Coburg’s point guard kept his side in decent contention with eight straight points (43:52 in the 25th minute). Yet the cold shower followed: Midway through the third period, the BBC’s “life insurance” conceded his fifth personal foul after an at least dubious call and so was forced to sit out the rest of the game on the sidelines.

The home side coped with that setback pretty decently to begin with and kept in the game, above all thanks to two buckets from outside by captain Yasin Turan against Leverkusen’s zone defense. Yet the “Giants from the Rhine” dominated both boards at will thanks to their size and weight advantages. In the end, they snapped up 50 rebounds, compared with just 29 by the home side. 17 offensive rebounds gave Leverkusen numerous chances to take a second shot, which it capitalized on clinically in the final period and so surged over 30 points in front. It looked in phases that the BBC COBURG was now disintegrating. It was only shortly before the end that the home side, such as through youngster Christoph Bauer with his first points of the season, was able to put a slightly better complexion on the score.

The defeat against the hot favorites means that Coburg’s playoff ambitions are over – even a win in the final game in the regular season in Frankfurt this weekend would not be enough for it to capture eighth spot. The BBC will thus have to participate in the unpopular playdowns, albeit with a far better starting position this time than the year before.