Anyone watching on as the players of medi Bayreuth crept off court after the encounter at RASTA Vechta on the 4th game day of the easyCredit German Basketball League could not only see that Head Coach Raoul Korner’s men were greatly disappointed at their fourth defeat in their fourth game of the season. The HEROES OF TOMORROW had fought literally right to the last second and given their all to seize their chance of their first win of the season, but the final shot of the game by Evan Bruinsma missed its mark in front of 3,150 spectators in the sold-out RASTA Dome. With 1.7 seconds left on the clock, Steve Vasturia had put his side back in front by 84:83 in the extremely dramatic final spell – and that proved to be the final score as RASTA notched up its home win in the German league in this campaign.
“Vechta is a very good team and the atmosphere in the arena was excellent. Sometimes possession means such a lot in basketball. Every respect to Steve Vasturia, who made the decisive move at the end. We are getting closer and closer to winning, now we just need to take the final step. I really hate losing, but if we can take something positive away from the game then it’s definitely the fact that we fought very hard,” said Bryce Alford (medi Bayreuth) afterwards.
medi Bayreuth got off to a highly focused start this time around and was clearly the better side to begin with. Boosted by a Bryce Alford in reliable scoring form (he chalked up 15 points in the first period), the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner grew in confidence. However, the home side then gradually got into the game better, although medi Bayreuth skillfully managed to always stay ahead.
However, the encounter would all in all become a game of runs. The first was produced by the home side: After the HEROES OF TOMORROW completely lost the thread all of a sudden after the break, Vechta capitalized on that with a 18:2 run straddling the halves to pull 55:47 in front in the 23rd minute.
Yet medi Bayreuth threw in all it had and was not to be shaken off. In the third period, point guard James Robinson repeatedly shouldered responsibility, looked to score and finished his moves successfully, and so kept his team in the game and within striking distance.
It was now time for the next run – and this time it came from medi Bayreuth: The HEROES OF TOMORROW put 15 points without reply on the board to move 76:67 ahead in the 34th minute. Yet it was not long before Vechta struck back: With just over three minutes remaining, the team of Head Coach Pedro Calles had closed the deficit to just one point.
With 90 seconds left, the encounter was tied at 77:77 going into crunch time and, by then at the latest, it was clear that not the better, but the luckier team would win. The game ebbed to and fro, with the lead changing hands a total of four times in the final minute before Vechta clinched an 84:83 victory.
Apart from a strong performance in offense by Bryce Alford and James Robinson, James Woodard again produced an impressive display for medi and chalked up a double double (10 points / 10 rebounds).
Raoul Korner commented: “I genuinely and warmly congratulate RASTA Vechta and coach Calles on the win, albeit with a heavy heart. Neither team deserved to lose. What happened today was what they probably call a heart-breaking loss. We fought and gave all we had, but at the end of the day we’ve come away empty-handed again. It turned out to be an evenly matched tussle, with both teams playing at the same level, but in the end one or two small things tipped the scales. Even though we didn’t run out winners today, it was a step forward for us and now we have to follow that up. I’d also like to congratulate Pedro Calles on his first win in the Basketball Champions League, a big success for the club.”
The next game for HEROES OF TOMORROW follows in rapid succession, this time on the international stage: medi Bayreuth travels to BK Ventspils in Latvia for its first encounter in the FIBA Europe Cup on Wednesday, October 23. The tip-off in the Ventspils Olympic Center Basketball Hall is at 7 p.m. local time (6 p.m. German time).