After a 56-day break, the engine ran surprisingly smoothly

Sovereign 85:45 away win at the Köln 99ers – Hiroaki Kozai top scorer

Autumn champion RSV Lahn-Dill has started the new sports year 2022 just as successfully as he has finished the old year. With a clear and equally confident 85:45 away win (22:12/44:21/71:29) at the Köln 99ers in their luggage, the Mittelhessen returned to Wetzlar from the Rhineland on Saturday evening with two more plus points. The first top scorer of 2022 was Hiroaki Kozai, who ended up with 22 points, four rebounds and five assists in just over 22 minutes of play.

The Japanese international was thus already the RSV player, who came in the Cologne sports hall at the Bergischer Ring on the second longest playing time, only the Dutchman Quinten Zantinge could look forward to 27 minutes of playing time even more activity. However, these figures also prove how important it was for head coach Janet Zeltinger to give the entire squad balanced playing time after a 56-day break in competitive matches in order to get back into rhythm.

And this succeeded on Saturday evening in the cathedral city because the RSV engine stuttered only in the first five minutes of the game on this eleventh matchday in the RBBL. At this point, the 99ers were still just ahead with 8:6, before Brian Bell and the later top scorer Kozai initiated a 21:4 sprint, in which the RSV Lahn-Dill stepped on the accelerator. Again and again, the aggressive defense of the guests ensured ball wins, which they then converted into a fast and worth seeing game. At 17:10 (7th) Hiroaki Kozai had already scored his tenth point, before two threes by Quinten Zantinge and Thomas Böhme marked the 27:12 (13th) a little later. By the time break, the game against the Bundesliga returnee had already been decided at 44:21.

But the strongest phase of the Wetzlar rollis was to follow after the change of sides. First, however, Cologne was able to free itself somewhat from the clutches of the RSV defense, which the otherwise well-shielded 99ers top scorers Joe Bestwick and Thomas Reier used especially offensively. But with increasing playing time, the pressure in the third quarter became even greater, which the guests used between the 27th and 30th minute of the game to another 17:2 run. Thus, a preliminary decision at halftime also became an early decision in this game when the result had already grown to 71:29 after three quarters of the game.

In the end, all players signed up for the scorer list and thanked them for their playing time. The strong Kozai and Zantinge led well with five assists each and thus compensated excellently for the impulses of Thomas Böhme, who went into the game battered from the training week. Centers Reo Fujimoto, with 14 points and nine rebounds, Brian Bell with an 85 percent hit rate, Dominik Mosler and Mark Beissert also knew how to please.

“We showed a very strong team performance and showed an enormously high intensity over the entire game,” said head coach Janet Zeltinger at the end of a surprisingly successful start after the long period off since November 20 of last year. Next weekend, RSV Lahn-Dill awaits the BBC Münsterland in a catch-up game. High ball for the game in the Buderus Arena is on Sunday at 15:00.

Cologne: Thomas Reier (10), Umut Akbay (8), Joe Bestwick (6), Alexander Keiser (6), Bulut Kodal (6), Ryan Wright (4), Paul Jachmich (3), Hillevi Hannson (2), Timo Bergenthal.

Lahn-Dill: Hiroaki Kozai (22), Brian Bell (14), Reo Fujimoto (14), Thomas Böhme (7/1 Dreier), Quinten Zantinge (7/1), Dominik Mosler (6), Simon Brown (5/1), Mark Beissert (4), Jannik Blair (2), Peyman Mizan (2), Catharina Weiß (2).

RSV-Magazin Defense