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BBC with a defeat in the last away match

Rhöndorf, 03-23-2019

After two victories to launch its campaign in the playdowns in the BARMER ProB 2nd German Basketball League, BBC COBURG suffered its first defeat on Saturday evening. Fielding a decimated squad, the BBC lost on the road at Dragons Rhöndorf by 84:71 (41:37), although it never dropped out of contention until well into the final period.

As early as the warm-up, it was clear to the around 600 fans in the DragonsDome that the team of Head Coach Ulf Schabacker continued to be plagued by the injury and illness worries that afflicted it last weekend: Coburg traveled to the cooperation partner of Telekom Baskets Bonn with just seven players. Christopher Wolf was forced to withdraw through illness, whereas injuries ruled out Matthias Fichtner and Daniel Krause.

In particular Max von der Wippel got off to a good start: After winning the tip-off, he displayed unimagined qualities from the three-point line and drained his first bucket from beyond the arc this season as the shot clock ran down to put his side ahead for the first time (2:3). Both teams used the subsequent few minutes to increase their haul, after which the visitors produced a 7:0 run, initiated by top scorer Kevin Franceschi (22 points), to stretch their lead to four by the end of the first period (19:23).

The home side then briefly turned the encounter around in the second quarter with a run of eight points without reply. It was only a three-pointer by the Frenchman Franceschi that stopped the fired-up Dragons. The BC then reduced the deficit to 35:30 thanks to easy points by Chase Adams and Steffen Walde. Backup center Andy Rico then made both his free throws and Dino Dizdarevic drained a buzzer-beating shot from downtown to leave the encounter completely up for grabs at half-time (41:37).

After the break, Rhöndorf’s 2.05-meter colossus Zygimantas Riauka from Lithuania began to turn on the magic. Max von der Wippel and Andy Rico soon conceded fouls and so Head Coach Ulf Schabacker was forced to play with a short five. Riauka was able to snap up many simple rebounds due to the fact that the visitors were at a physical disadvantage and had already notched up 16 points and 20 rebounds by the end of the third period. And when, to compound that, Max von der Wippel fouled out at the end of the third quarter, things looked bleak for the six remaining Coburg players in terms of stamina. Yet they still managed to keep the deficit down to 60:58 after 30 minutes and so their hopes alive.

The loss of Max von der Wippel revealed more and more clearly that the club from Upper Franconia had traveled to the Rhine with an extremely small rotation. The Dragons extended their lead point by point and gradually wrested the momentum. The decisive factor now ultimately proved to be Riauka: Clever play by the center meant he was able to make an astounding 27 rebounds in 31 minutes on court and so ensured almost single-handedly that the team of Head Coach Thomas Adelt had clear advantages under both boards. He also drained nine out of his 13 attempts from the floor and so enabled the Dragons to capture a vital home win by the margin of 84:71.

Steffen Walde, who had just returned to the team and was not able to celebrate the club avoiding relegation last weekend, commented after the game: “You could see from the outset that we were at a physical disadvantage. As a result of the high foul count against our two tall players, we were without an established center in a number of key phases of the encounter, so that often caused us tough problems when it came to rebounding. Our opponents capitalized on that cleverly and exploited our weaknesses in defense. We also had less luck in offense in the DragonsDome and only managed to score three buckets from outside out of 21 attempts. We’re now fully focused on the second game against the Dragons next weekend. The return of Christopher Wolf means we’re have a stronger presence below the basket and more assistance in winning the rebound battle.” The game on Sunday, March 31, tips off at 4 p.m.

Statistics for BBC COBURG: Franceschi (22), Adams (13 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 6 steals), Von der Wippel (12 points), Walde (10 points), Dizdarevic, Turan ( 5 points apiece), Rico (4 points).

Top scorers for Dragons Rhöndorf: Riauka (22 points, 27 rebounds), Möller (19 points).