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NBBL/JBBL Top4 2014: Semi-Finals

May 17th, 2014 · No Comments

After a one year break, I am back to cover the NBBL and JBBL Top4 which is held in Quakenbrück this year. With the constant rise of the talent level in German Youth basketball, it is a really great event to cover some of the most promising prospects. Let’s take a look at what happened during the semi-finals.

Bonn/Rhöndorf – Tröster Breitengüssbach 57-74

The first matchup of the day saw two classic German youth teams competing against each other with Bonn/Rhöndorf against the Brose Bamberg farm team TSV Tröster Breitengüssbach. Güssbach had the better start behind their big man Moritz Sanders driving to the hoop but it was Kostja Mushidi who brought his team back in the game . He got a stupid second foul though early but even if  Noah Kamdem was the main scorer of the first quarter, Bonn had the lead. The level of the game in the second quarter was really good for U16 level as Mushidi continued to control his team with great drives and an overall presence on the floor. Breitengüssbach got several second chances but could not cut the lead as Sanders was unable to score against the Bonn defense so that the teammates of Mushidi were up 35-31 at the half.

Mushidi got immediately his third foul to start the second half but he remained on the court. Kamdem though continued to dominate inside and brought the lead back to his team. After a timeout, Mushidi was mentally back with two great plays in the fastbreak and the game was tied again. The situation for Bonn got bad when Anton Geretzki injured his leg and Mushidi got his fourth foul with 3 minutes to play in the third quarter. Sanders and Nicolas Wolf hit two three-pointers in a row and Breitengüssbach went up 6 points. Alex Möller though scored on Sanders in the post to bring his team back into the game after a little shake-up on offense. Mushidi came back to start the last quarter and Möller brought his team completely back with his presence on the offensive glass and the defense on Sanders. Mushidi scored the big three on the 24s buzzer and Bonn was up by 2 again. Both teams started to struggle to find a basket as the decisive moments came closer. Wolf added another smooth triple in transition so that Breitengüssbach could go up by 5 points 3 minutes before the end. Bonn was unable to get a good offense and relied too much on 1-1 situations after running down the clock. Kamdem added another one in the post and the Brose farm team looked like bringing this one home. With two minutes left in the game, the difference was 12 points and the first finalist of the JBBL season 2013/14 was known.

MVP: Nicolas Wolf 23pts (4/5 3FGs), 9rebs, 2asts, 1stl

Artland Dragons – FC Bayern München 90-88

Artland started well into the game behind a great defensive presence of Isaiah Hartenstein who closed the paint completely with his vertical presence despite having to play against a guard because of the lack of size on Bayern side. Richard Freudenberg defended the Artland big who gave his team though a 10-5 lead on a three point shot from the wing. Bayern started to play better from that moment on as they found their defensive rotations that created a lot of  fast break opportunities that helped them to take over the lead while Hartenstein got his second foul. Jan Philipp Mügge scored twice from the three-point line so that Artland went to the first break with a 1 point deficit only. Mügge continued his three point shooting but Freudenberg answered with a mid-range jump shooting clinic to keep the score balanced. Hartenstein was back on the court and went finally in the post where he could connect on the left handed hook. But Bayern kept the lead as Freudenberg was doing what he wanted with anyone trying to guard him. Hartenstein dominated Freudenberg several times in the paint afterwards and he could tie the score at 42 before the halftime break.

Artland came hot out of the locker room as Hartenstein and Mügge scored from behind the arc. Bayern needed a quick time out as Artland ran away 52-44 as the shots continued to fall for the hosts and Bayern did not find a way through the defense. Freudenberg was not really present throwing a massive brick from behind the arc and a pass into the no-man’s land. The Bayern forward showed his leadership qualities though draining the third foul of Hartenstein and making the and-1 on the next play. But Artland found once again Mügge who nailed two threes in a row (8/9 at that moment) and initiated a run that gave his team a double-digit lead once again. But Bayern did not give up and cut the difference once again to have it at 8 points before the last quarter. Hartenstein immediately made his fourth foul to start the last ten minutes and Freudenberg cut the lead to 4 points using his size against smaller defenders with Hartenstein on the bench. The Artland offense was too stagnant with their big man on the bench and Freudenberg used the space in the middle to score on the offensive glass. Johan Potratz with  points in a row brought the hosts back into a favorable position with 4 and half minutes to go. His brother Karl Potratz added another basket on the drive but Freudenberg with the drive and another fastbreak kept Bayern alive. Freudenberg was everywhere scoring over Hartenstein after a spin and with great defense offered the fast break to Bayern to come back to –1 at 1m37 to go. K. Potratz scored the big layup to tie the game after a short Bayern lead but injured his leg on the same play. Bayern could not find a basket on the opposite side and got called for the unsportsmanlike foul with 8 seconds on the clock and a tied score at 80. Hartenstein missed twice from the free-throw line and he could not find the way to the basket on the final play so that the game went to overtime.

Alexandre Fanchini opened the extra period with a layup and a three pointer for Bayern but Hartenstein scored on his trademark left handed hook. Jannick Jebens used the foul trouble of Hartenstein to score in the low post and Bayern was still living from their initial quick run. Hartenstein made his free-throws now and the game remained undecided with 2 minutes to go. Mügge was back after a long draught to score the triple in transition and Artland was up by 2 with 87 seconds left in the game. Bayern scored one from the FT line and K. Potratz was back on court after his injury to score 1 free-throw on his side. Mügge had the neck-breaker but missed the three-point attempt so that Bayern had a last chance to go to a second overtime. Freudenberg missed the low post jump hook and Artland could start the party.

MVP: Isaiah Hartenstein 30pts (11/20 FGs), 16rebs, 7blks

Schoder Junior-Giraffen Langen – ALBA Berlin 40-50

Langen started better into the game playing over their post players Tom Alte and Jan Moritz Overdick. ALBA struggled on their finishes on the drive so that it remained a low scoring game in the first five minutes. Alte added more points but Ismet Akpinar kept ALBA in the game on the mid-range jump shot. Langen had problems to find the way to the hoop as the ALBA defense got better and Akpinar scored a nice one on  the drive followed by a big triple just before the first quarter buzzer to give his team a 15-11 lead. Moritz Wagner knocked down the long range three pointer to start the second quarter and forced an early time out by Langen. The Giraffen went for the 2-3 zone defense but ALBA made two more three-pointers and went to +10 with Akpinar on the bench. The ALBA defense made it really hard for Langen to score but the team from the capital could not really create a massive lead but they were up by 15 point with 3 minutes to play. Langen was unable to score anything but ALBA was not more effective either so that the halftime score was 33-15 in favor of Akpinar’s team mates.

The second half started on the same defensive intensity level than the first with very few baskets on both sides. ALBA went up to nearly twenty points as Langen had a terrible shooting day and even if Alte scored on the break to bring his team back to 16, nobody expected a Berlin loss in this game. The 98 born Jona Hoffmann then made several plays in a row to bring his team back in the game so that Langen was down 12 before the last ten minutes. Hoffmann was the man Langen had to look for in order to get back into the game as the young slasher beat his man constantly on the drive. The defense of the Giraffen was amazing at that moment as they denied everything ALBA tried and reduced the gap to only 6 points with 6 minutes on the clock. Akpinar finally broke the spell on ALBA’s shooting with a triple and it was a five point game with 3 and a half minutes to play as Alte found Hoffmann on the cut. Langen was unable though to come closer in the final minutes so that ALBA had a 6 point advantage with 60 seconds to play. Akpinar finished the job from the free-throw line and ALBA advanced to the Final.

MVP: Ismet Akpinar 25pts (8/16 FGs – 7/8 FTs), 5rebs, 3stls

finke baskets Paderborn – CYBEX Urspring 66-77

This semi final started on a totally different level as both teams were loaded with interesting prospects. Niklas Kiel started the game with a three-pointer and a dunk while Thomas Grün found Christian Sengfelder for a beautiful alley-oop in transition. Urspring created a first lead on a nice drive by Zaire Thompson who found Mahir Agva in the paint for the layup. Luis Figge brought some energy from the bench and Urspring was forced to take their first time out at the score of 15-12 in their favor. Grün scored five points in a row to bring the Urspring lead back to 8 points but Figge drew multiple fouls with his great drives. Thompson and Sengfelder were the players that gave Urspring a good start into the second quarter. Grün added a floater in transition and Paderborn needed a timeout with 7 minutes on the clock in the second quarter. Thompson was key with two steals in a row and Urspring went up to 34-18. The Paderborn offense was too much based on 1-1 situations so that they could not come back as the attempts were forced and not converted. Urspring struggled as well to find good solutions against the Paderborn zone defense so that the score remained around the 18 points of difference until halftime.

The teams traded three-pointers to start the second half and after Alan Boger hit his second triple, Figge added another one from the corner and Urspring needed a timeout as their lead was only 14 points. Figge had a dunk on the break but Sengfelder answered with a triple. Till Pape though made his three-pointer from the corner but Agva scored on the put back to keep the difference to 14 but it was a game now. Lars Kamp seemed to finally find his way into the game with four poins in a row but Urspring had an answer to everything with Grün playing really well. The Paderborn guard had another steal in the passing lane and the score was 45-56 before the last ten minutes. Kiel finally made his first basket since the first minute of the game but missed the bonus free-throw to bring the difference to single digits. Sengfelder though scored the important three-pointer on the catch-and-shoot and Agva closed the paint for Kiel again. Urspring did not give Paderborn any chance to come closer than ten points so that the team from the South was up 12 points 5 minutes before the end. The difference was still 11 points with 2 minutes on the clock when Paderborn could break the 10 points difference barrier but it was too late. Urspring nailed their free-throws and qualified for the Final on Sunday.

MVP: Christian Sengfelder 22pts (5/10 2FGs – 3/4 3FG), 14rebs

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