With a 74:60-success the title-defendants manage to turn it around
With great moral title-defendant RSV Lahn-Dill got their head out of the tight spot in the deciding game for the Wheelchair Basketball Championship and triumphed over RSB Team Thueringen 74:60 (17:10/33:24/51:36) in an impressing manner. Centre Dirk Koehler also celebrated a jubilee, when he got his 5.000th point in RSV colours in the last quarter of the game. The Final will not be against arch rivals Zwickau though, but against Mainhatten Skywheelers, who won in Saxon sensationally with 70:66 and therefore were able to compensate for their 52:54-defeat in the first game.
The same way RSV, lead by an outstanding Captain Michael Paye, were able to make up for their home-defeat the week before. Hosts Team Thueringen did not manage to save their seven-point advantage over the finish line and now have to, after their defeat in the DRS-Cup Quarterfinals against RSV Lahn-Dill, say good-bye to their hopes for the German Championship. “This has been an extraordinarily intense and straining game, but my team had a sovereign game and deservedly got their ticket for the Final.” says a very happy RSV-Coach Nicolai Zeltinger after 40 highly tense minutes in Elxleben.
RSV, who did not seem to be favourites for the title anymore after the disappointing home-defeat the week before, started their game very concentrated. The aim was to keep Top-Scorer Alaiksandr Halouski away from the basket with a tight defence, to take away the Belorussian’s biggest threats. This seemed to be working at the start, as RSV managed to get back 5 of the lacking 7 points at 9:4 (7th min), whilst Halouski only got his first two points in the end of the first quarter with two spotless free-throws.
This trend continued for a while, when Joe Bestwick hit two in a row within only a few seconds, pushing the scoreboard to 19:12 and 21:12 (13th min) and therefore let his team get the first scent of the final. Only when Michael Paye added to that, accompanied by massive cheering of his club’s fans who travelled with them in great number, leading to 23:12 (14th min), Thueringen seemed to find their way back into the game and started a thrilling semi-final-battle. Until the 42:35 (27th min) the game seemed to equalise the first game, which would have made over-time unavoidable.
But when the hosts had 4 minutes lacking concentration RSV took advantage, and baskets by Michael Paye and Dirk Koehler suddenly rose the score to 53:36 (31st min) and so got the team into position to roll into the final. How dangerous Thueringen can be was to be seen shortly after though. Just when people stopped believing in the team from Elxleben, they had their strongest phase.
The hosts managed to turn a comfortable RSV-lead into a nerve-wracking game again, when US-Captain Taz Capasso shot a three, leading to 45:55 (33rd min), even though RSV’s old dog Dirk Koehler downed his 5.000th point in two free throws just before, setting a new record for his club. A minute later RSB-point guard Joakim Linden got the chance to move the score past the magic line of seven points with two free-throws, and the game seemed to slip away again for Lahn-Dill. But the Swede’s nerves didn’t seem strong enough on both shots, and now it was Jan Haller, who kept his team in the game with six points. The whole game was finished off by the outstandingly playing Captain Michael Paye, who got five of five free-throws to add for his team.
This way his team was able to cheer in the end and Captain Michael Paye added proudly: “We did not just play a husky defence for 40 minutes, but also had our hearts in the game looking for chances. That was the deciding factor.” Bottom line is, that, despite the 7-point disadvantage and the resulting mental pressure of having lost three of four league games against Thueringen, the combined result is now 132:125 and the spot in the final is save. Michael Paye says: “We won the deciding games in both Championship and Cup, it shows that one should not underestimate our young team.”
Lahn-Dill: Michael Paye (30), Joe Bestwick (14), Dirk Köhler (20), Jan Haller (10), Christopher Huber, Björn Lohmann, David Amend, Thomas Boehme, Thomas Gundert, Felix Schell, Marco Zwerger
Thueringen: Aliaksandr Halouski (29), Raimund Beginskis (13), Taz Capasso (9/1 three), Joakim Linden (4), Diana Dadzite (3/1), Jens-Eike Albrecht (2), Teemu Partanen, Karol Szulc.