Since my last update our team has kept a nice little win streak going. Win number 4 of the streak came against the 12th place team at BG Hagen on January 23rd. We played a sloppy game overall but ended up winning by 8. I believe I finished with 30 points and around 10 rebounds but missed another tip-in dunk and played flat the first 3 quarters.
Win number 5 was at home against the 5th place team on January 30th and was one of the most inconsistent games I have ever been a part of. We started the game on a 22-3 run. We then let the Grevenbroich Elephants go on a 12-0 run in the 2nd quarter. The 2nd half was then filled with multiple mini-runs until we finished with a strong 4th quarter. We ended up winning 89-81, but I had the worst performance of my professional career. Playing in front of the home town crowd I shot a miserable 27%. I missed all 5 three point attempts and went 0-3 on other jump-shots. I made 5 wide open layups and went 8 for 8 from the line to salvage myself somewhat by scoring 18. It also didn't help that I had 3 turnovers to my 1 lonely assist.
Win number 6 came on February 7th against Bayer Uerdingen who was at the time 2-18 for the year but with a new American power forward who was brought in to help save the team from demotion (in the Regionalliga West, the top 2 teams are likely to be promoted into Pro B whereas the bottom 3 teams are to be demoted into Regionalliga 2 for next season). The game was played in front of a decent sized crowd which happened to include my parents! They had flown in 2 days before from Detroit and were still very jet-lagged. After missing my first wide open lay-up of the game and shaking the jitters out from playing in front of my most loyal fans (my parents of course) I went on to score a new career high of 43 points which included 6 dunks. Everything seemed to be going in that day but the game was still a fight to the finish as Uerdingen was playing for their spot in the league. We ended up winning the close one 85-78.
After the game in Dusseldorf, my parents and I experienced the interminable Saturday night bar scene in Dusseldorf. We had a great time and then stayed at a nice hotel not too far from town. In the morning we set our sights for Barcelona Spain where we spent Sunday, Monday, and part of Tuesday. It was a wild 3 days to say the least and we all had a blast exploring the maritime atmosphere.
Our next game on February 14th was the biggest one of the entire season. We played TSV Leverkusen who were 2nd place in the standings only 1 game ahead of us. They beat us last time we played them at Leverkusen by 11 so we needed to beat them by 11 to take 2nd place in the league. The game was hyped all week on the radio and in some of the local schools. With around 1000 wild fans in our gym it was quite the stage for a great game. The game got very physical from the start. I failed to mention last time we played against Leverkusen how dirty the team was. Apparently, I am not the only one who feels this team as somebody took the time to highlight some of the dirty plays by one of their players this season. Aggression on both sides continued escalating throughout the first half until our starting 2 guard got knocked out of the game by the infamous American player from Leverkusen as seen in the video. We also had the same terrible referee that officiated our first game against this team. Coincidentally, I had my 3rd foul in the first minute of the 2nd quarter, our starting point guard had 4 fouls in the 1st half, two players were out of the game with injuries. By the end of the game we had 3 players foul out (including myself) and were called for more than 10 more fouls than the other team. Regardless of the blatantly poor officiating, we were winning for more than 75% of the game. Heading into the 4th quarter we had one of our largest leads at 8 points. This was when Leverkusen made 6 3-pointers in a row as part of there 41 point 4th quarter. During this ridiculous stretch we made about 3 3-pointers and a lay-up or two in an attempt to match them, but in the end we fell short. We lost the game by 10 as I had to watch the last 6 minutes from the bench after fouling out. I was very proud of our team and our fans as we battled with them throughout the whole game despite being out sized by about 15 lbs. per player. It was quite a disappointment to loose this game but in the end we played our hearts out and did all that we could.
After the game we caught wind of an Amherst victory over Middlebury and the Olsons, the Walters, and the Nehrings helped celebrate a 2nd place NESCAC spot, the Olsons anniversary, and a BBV Hagen (Andrew's team) win thousands of miles from home until 5 o'clock in the morning! My parents were here for only 10 days, but we made so many memories and epic stories that I will never forget in my lifetime. What a week!