First game in second round went against one of the strongest teams in the league and holder of the Place 1 in the standings on the day – Holzkirchen. In the home game we managed to barely take this team with +2 Points in a very hard game, but then they didn’t have their best player. This time they had. I was awaiting a very hard game as last season both of the brothers played in the team, this year it was just the younger brother. Last season this duo was dominating the league by scoring up to 40 points each per game. Crazy. So it was clear that this game would be very hard. Test of the team effort from our side.
Opponents started off a little bit better than we did and for first seven minutes were better at scoring the ball and took the lead with 10 to 4. At minute seven the Hellboys took the initiative in their hands and had a good run on both ends of the floor. We scored 10 consecutive baskets in the last three minutes of the first quarter and boys did a very good job on the defensive end not letting opponents to score a single basket for the rest of the first quarter. We finished strong with +4 points, score 10 to 14.
This quarter went back and forth. Both teams had their ups and downs. Holzkirchen opened the quarter with one basket, then Hellboys had a run and went up 12 to 20. In the half of the second quarter home team took over and reduced the score to 1 point with score 19 to 20 respectively. For the last five minutes in the second quarter teams exchanged with the baskets, but the opponents managed to get one basket more than we did and reduced our lead to just +2 with score 26 to 28 finishing the half time and going in break.
U16-3 Hellboys have went far this season and had achieved better understanding of the game and it’s processes. What we sometimes didn’t manage was the third quarter. Our wooden leg. Today it was particulary dangerous as we had only seven players and one of them was sick and couldn’t help fully. Now I feared that team would lose some crucial focus in the third quarter and that would break us. I was right and wrong at the same time.
Coming in after the break wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. At least for the first four minutes in the second half. We scored some, both teams exchanged with successful three point shots and still held the small lead of +4 points. And well, then at minute 35 something bad happened. One of my lead scorers went to the basket with good penetration, but unfortunately got pulled from behind from the opponent. He got injured shoulder and couldn’t move his arm. Bad news.
From there happened exactly what I had feared. It had happened also in previous games where we had unsufficient number of players and team got a mental block because someone got injured. It pretty much gave us a blow. Opponents started to score with no answer and overtook the lead by 47 to 39. At the end one of the Hellboys pulled a jumper and beat the clock with a made three point shot which we really needed to finish the third quarter with a hope. 47 to 42 and the last quarter was upon us.
Our captain still had pain in the shoulder. It was a bit better and he could move his arm now, but I didn’t trust to put him in the game. I took the decision for the safe side and health. Team was still struggling, but it wasn’t superbad. We exchanged some three pointers, but then at minute 33 opponents had a run and put up 9 points with no answer one of them being another three pointer to demotivate Hellboys even more. Suprisingly opponents took a timeout which worked for us. I tried to motivate the team and it worked. Guys got back in the game. We started to score again and opponents got sloppy. They had a lead of 61 to 45 before the timeout and they had taste of victory on their tongues. Though, we were not done. Not yet.
Hellboys started to score again and around the minute 36 I could change in our captain again. It still looked pretty bad with 4 minutes to go and being -14 points. We started to push more and defend better, opponents did some mistakes and couldn’t score as before. We had a good run and managed to burn their lead to 9 points around minute and a half to go. Their lead player got some fouls and fouled himself out, plus managed to get a technical for the bench. We will take it.
We started to stop the clock and it worked really well. Home team made some mistakes and we had another run to burn their lead down to just 3 points. A very good job from Hellboys, but time waits noone. We had nothing left, last try foul and we were already at the teamfouls, their #9 made both of the shots and that was it. We lost to the strong team of Holzkirchen with 69 to 64 and went down with just -5 which is a very good accomplishment of my guys in a game like this. We had a great experience crawling back from the ditch and I am sure that it made the guys only better, even if the game itself was a loss.
I am happy to say that we can compete and keep up with the top teams of our league which wasn’t the case at the beginning of the season where we would just get lucky. Team has advanced and I can see the development. Hard trainings and conditioning is paying off, though, we don’t fully use our potential just yet. We need to work on our speed in the next game and get the opponents vary much faster. Potential is there and I am very intrigued for the next game to come. For now, we work on our speed.