Weiss and Kozai the match winners against Hamburg

Confident 90:43 home win in the Buderus Arena against the team of the hour

The team of the hour from Hamburg had to go home late Saturday evening in the far north with empty hands. After 40 minutes of play, the league leader RSV Lahn-Dill rejoiced over a high 90:43 victory (26:8/44:20/68:39) against BG Baskets Hamburg in the Buderus Arena. Match winners on the side of the hosts from Central Hesse were Catharina Weiß and top scorer Hiroaki Kozai.

The latter ended up with 34 points, including six goals beyond the 6.75m mark, five rebounds and six assists. The Japanese was an absolute bench against his former team and the most dangerous offensive force for the home side. But national player Catharina Weiß, who was the only low-pointer under enormous pressure after the loss of Jannik Blair, was also outstanding. The 21-year-old played almost 36 minutes in the Buderus Arena and did a fantastic job, as head coach Janet Zeltinger said later. Australian international Blair was not cleared to start by team doctor Petra Michel-Leutheuser after suffering a head injury during the training week and had to watch the game himself from his couch at home via livestream.

Before scarcely 500 spectators above all the Japanese Kozai started like the fire department. After 70 seconds his first three-pointer made it 5:2, a little later the 33-year-old increased his lead again with a three-pointer to 13:6 (5th), before center Reo Fujimoto matched his compatriot from beyond the 6.75m line to make it 16:6 (6th). But this was only a foretaste of what was to come this evening, as the home side showed that they were going to work with absolute concentration in the run-up to the summit meeting in Thuringia next weekend.

Thus the run of the Wetzlarer continued over 32:10 (14.) by Thomas Boehme and 39:14 (15.) by Kozai also in the second quarter seamlessly. The team of coach Zeltinger and her co-trainer Günther Mayer acted as if they had come from the same mould, uncompromising in defense and successful on the offensive with an initial scoring rate of over 60 percent. And this regardless of who was on the floor of the Buderus Arena for the home side.

Even after the change of ends, the RSV did not let up, started with a 9:0 run to 53:20 (22.), before the Hamburg team countered for the first time and proved with morale that they did not want to give up without a fight after three victories in a row in Central Hesse. The reward for this phase was a courageous 19:15 spurt, which Iranian Saman Balaghi initiated with two three-pointers to 53:27 (24th) and also concluded at 68:39 (29th).

In the final quarter, however, RSV Lahn-Dill dominated again. While in the third period it was Japan’s Hiroaki Kozai who put his stamp on it with 18 points of his own, Thomas Böhme and Dominik Mosler took over this job in the last ten minutes of the game. Both hit ten of their total of twelve throws in this phase and thus screwed the result to 78:39 (35th) and a little later to the final score of 90:43.

“Hiro Kozai is in a captivating form, but Catha Weiß easily put away the greatest pressure today. With her extremely strong defense over the entire game, she helped us a lot today and delivered a top game,” head coach Janet Zeltinger was pleased after the final siren in the Buderus Arena. Thus, the Wetzlar Rollis have shown their best side in the run-up to the summit duel next Saturday in Thuringia. But also the Bulls were able to prepare for the duel against the Central Hessians on this match day with a 101:28 victory in Frankfurt. So everything seems to be set for the top match between the reigning champions and second in the table from Elxleben and the reigning Champions League winners and table leaders from Wetzlar.

Lahn-Dill: Hiroaki Kozai (34/6 threes), Thomas Böhme (14), Dominik Mosler (13), Brian Bell (10), Reo Fujimoto (9/1), Quinten Zantinge (6), Mark Beissert (3), Simon Brown (1), Peyman Mizan, Catharina Weiß.

Hamburg: Mojtaba Kamali (15), Saman Balaghi (12/2), Martin Steinhardt (8), Luc Weilandt (4), Kai Möller (2), Anne Patzwald (2), Nikolaus Classen, Alireza Ahmadi (n.e.).


Photo: Armin Diekmann

RSV-Magazin Defense